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The Learned ^Me
THE LEARNED MEN
Q-ustavus S. Taine
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
New York Established 1834
Copyright /pj?<? by Thomas Y. Crowdl Company
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form, except by a reviewer,
without the permission of the publisher.
Designed by Laurel Wagner
Manufactured in the United States of America
by the Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghamton, New York
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 5^134$$
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following:
To the Bodleian Library, Oxford, to the British Mu-
seum, London, to the Lambeth Palace Library, and to
Cambridge University Library for information and copies
of original manuscripts.
To the American Historical Society, New York, to the
Folger Library, Washington, and to Yale University Li-
brary for the use of source materials.
To the library of Union Theological Seminary, New
York, and to the rare book room of the New York Public
Library, for valuable aid in research.
To Miss Margaret T. Hills of the American Bible So-
ciety, New York, for the loan of illustrative prints.
To the National Portrait Gallery, London, for the por-
trait of Bishop Bancroft.
To Dr. Frederic C. Grant of Union Theological Semi-
nary for comment on the Bois notes.
To the Public Trustee for the Estate of Bernard Shaw,
and to the Society of Authors, London, for permission to
quote from the preface to Adventures of the Black Girl
in Her Search for God.
And to Wanda Willson Whitman, the friend who has
been associated with this book from the very start. It was
she who suggested the original idea, nourished it with her
interest and encouragement, and, when the author was no
longer here to complete his work, edited the manuscript
with skill, integrity, and affection.
What good can it do us to know more about the men who
made the King James Bible and about their work on it?
Just how did these chosen men revise the Bible from 1604
to 1611? Who were these men and what were their careers?
Were they happy in their labor? Did they live with success
after they finished it? How did it affect them? How does
the King James Bible differ from Bibles before and after
it? Could a group or groups turn out better writing than
a single person? These are some of the questions I aim to
answer in this volume.
The King James men were minor writers, though great
scholars, doing superb writing. Their task lifted them
above themselves, while they leaned firmly on their sub-
jects. Many have written in wonder about what they
achieved. I quote here only from one ardent man with
Bible learning, and from one who admired the product
while he scorned ways of worship.
Dr. F. William Faber: "It lives on the ear like a music
that can never be forgotten, like the sound of church bells,
which the convert hardly knows how he can forego* Its
felicities often seem to be almost things rather than mere
words* It is part of the national mind and the anchor of
national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes into
it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in
its verses. The power of all the griefs and trials of a man
[ vii ]
is hidden beneath Its words. It Is the representative of his
best moments; and all that there has been about him of
soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent, and good speaks
to him for ever out of his English Bible."
H. L. Mencken: "It is the most beautiful of all the
translations of the Bible; indeed, it Is probably the most
beautiful piece of writing* In all the literature of the world.
Many attempts have been made to purge It of Its errors and
obscurities. An English Revised Version was published in
1885 and an American Revised Version In 1901, and since
then many learned but misguided men have sought to
produce translations that should be mathematically ac-
curate, and in the plain speech of everyday. But the Au-
thorized Version has never yielded to any of them, for It
is palpably and overwhelmingly better than they are, just
as it Is better than the Greek New Testament, or the
Vulgate, or the Scptuagint. Its English is extraordinarily
simple, pure, eloquent, and lovely. It is a mine of lordly
and incomparable poetry, at once the most stirring and the
most touching ever heard of."
One of its great virtues Is that it allows and Impels us
to put any part of it Into other words, into our words,
that we may get glimpses of more meanings from it and
then turn back to it with more delight and profit than
ever before. The King James men surpassed us in these
respects, that they were scholars, and that they had Eliza-
bethan command over language. At the same time they
were like us, of the people, earnest, and at the bottom
sweet and sound. We surpass them In our wide modern
range of words. At present many urge us in all sorts of
projects to "do It yourself/' I hope that as you read about
these men and what they did you may feel the urge to
create the Bible afresh for yourself, to revise the phrases
in any way you please, and then to compare your wordings
with what we have so long deemed our standard Scriptures,
[ via ]
Thus you may keep the Bible alive for yourself, really be
active as you read and study it, and be at one with the
learned men, those common people who gave us their
L '* .1
1 AT HAMPTON COURT 1
2 BISHOPS* MOVE 12
3 PURITANS' PROGRESS 22
4 THE WESTMINSTER GROUPS |JO
6 THECAMBRIDGEGROUPS 56
7 STARTING THE WORK 69
8 KING'S PLEASURE 78
9 HOLY WAR 87
10 PRIVATE FORTUNES 98
11 THE GOOD WORD 1O6
12 THE FINAL TOUCHES 124
13 THE BIBLE PRINTED 134
14 REWARDS AND SEQUELS 148
15 THE BIBLE OF THE LEARNED MEN LASTS 167
APPENDIX I. THE TRANSLATORS 184
APPENDIX II. COMPARATIVE READINGS 186
"May your Majesty be pleased/' said Dr. John Rainolds
In his address to the king, "to direct that the Bible be
now translated, such versions as are extant not answering
to the original."
Rainolds was a Puritan, and the Bishop of London felt
it his duty to disagree. "If every man's humor might be
followed/' snorted His Grace, "there would be no end
King James was quick to put both factions down. "I
profess/' he said, "I could never yet see a Bible well
translated in English, but I think that of Geneva is the
These few dissident words started the greatest writing
project the world has ever known, and the greatest
achievement of the reign of James I the making of the
English Bible which has ever since borne his name. The
day was Monday, January 16, 1604. The scene was the
palace at Hampton Court, with its thousand rooms built
by Cardinal Wolsey and successfully coveted by Henry
King James was new to the English throne but his reign
In Scotland had already brought him experience of re-
ligious differences. Those more than political consid-
erations divided the people who thronged the roads and
cheered the new king on his way from Edinburgh to
London. Most urgent of the many pleas received during
the royal progress was the Millenary Petition of the Puri-
tans, called so because it had a thousand signers, a tenth
of the English clergy. "The fantastical giddy-headed Puri-
tans/' wrote the Archbishop of York to the Bishop of
Durham, "are very eager that they may be heard/'
Another religious faction, the English Roman Catholics,
had sent from France a petition for more freedom. The
king could overlook the Catholics, but the Puritans had
been gaining ground for a generation and their demands
were specific. They opposed Sabbathbreaking and the
keeping of other holy days, baptism by women in their
homes, display of the cross in baptism, bowing at the
name Jesus, and other practices considered high church
James's answer was to call a meeting to talk about what
was "pretended to be amiss" in the churches. Because the
plague was making havoc in London, where it was to
kill thirty thousand, the meeting was first postponed and
then set for Hampton Court, a safe distance from the
In the huge rose-red brick palace hard by Hounslow
Heath, with its stone gargoyles, twisted chimneys, mul-
lioned windows, and cloistered walks, the king and his
friends had reveled since before Christmas. For more
guests than the thousand rooms could hold, tents stood
in the superb gardens and the broad deer park. In De-
cember it was too cold and foggy to enjoy the tennis
courts, the tilting ground, the bowling alleys beside the
swift, chilly Thames* Even James, reared in the cold of
Scotland, wore so many clothes that his weak legs could
hardly bear the burden. But there was hunting with bows
and arrows to warm the blood, and there was sport enough
indoors, what with dancing, drinking, and heavy meals
cooked in the long brick ovens.
Fireplace heat was a comfort to those near it. Those
away from it endured what the English called a frowst,
of about sixty degrees. The air must have been heavy and
stale for there is no record of baths in the palace, though
the court used perfumes and pomanders and the king
kept his hands soft as sarcenet by never washing them,
merely dipping the royal fingers into bowls of attar and
For the entertainment of the court, Shakespeare's actors
performed plays for a fee of twenty gold nobles for each
day or night, with an extra tip of five marks from the
king. After Christmas, in a masque called "The Twelve
Goddesses" staged by Inigo Jones, Queen Anne and eleven
maids of honor took part. They wore their hair down
and many thought their gauze costumes scandalously sheer,
although the queen wore over hers a blue mantle em-
broidered in silver with the weapons and engines of war.
Flutes and viols played sweetly. Francis Bacon was present
at this performance. The gay season, as brilliant as any
in Elizabeth's reign, immediately preceded the parley
about church matters.
Instead of asking the Puritans to send men of their
own choice, James and his advisers named just four,
among them John Rainolds, whom we may justifiably call
the father of the King James Bible. President of Corpus
Christi College at Oxford, Rainolds was called the most
learned man in England. With him to Hampton Court
went Laurence Chaderton from Cambridge, who with
Rainolds was to become a translator of the new Bible,
and two other Puritans who were to have no part in it.
The four were not admitted to the meeting until its
second day. Confronting them were a group of fifty or
sixty high churchmen, the lords of the council, deans,
bishops, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, rich
old John Whitgift, though he was not far from death.
The place of meeting was the king's privy chamber, a
large room in Henry VIIFs state suite on the east side of
the clock court. 1 The chief speakers were Richard Ban-
croft, Bishop of London, Rainolds, and the king.
James, at thirty-seven an old young man who sputtered
because his tongue was too large for his mouth, came in
and said a few kind words to the lords, and sat down in
his chair which was somewhat removed from the cloth
of state. Prince Henry, ten years old, sat near his father
on a stool. The king took off his hat when he thanked
Almighty God for bringing him into the promised land
where religion was purely professed.
When Rainolds' turn came, some said that he spoke
offhand of the new Bible, amid much talk of other matters.
He stressed four points: that the doctrine of the Church
might be preserved in purity according to God's word;
that good pastors might be planted in all churches to
preach the same; that the church government might be
sincerely ministered according to God's word; that the
Book of Common Prayer might be suited to more increase
Though these points were hardly disputable, the meet-
ing got into odd wrangles over lesser concerns. The Puri-
tans, though not so much Rainolds, opposed wedding
rings. James, who spoke of his queen as "our dearest
bedfellow/' said, "I was married with a ring and think
others scarcely well married without It." James had a good
time with jokes; when Rainolds, unmarried, questioned
the phrase in the marriage service "with my body I thee
worship," the king said, "Many a man speaks of Robin
Hood who never shot his bow; if you had a good wife
yourself, you would think that all the honor and worship
you could do to her would be well bestowed." Rainolds
won his laugh later when, In the argument against
*As George II altered this part of the palace, no one can now see the
spot where Rainolds stood when he proposed the translation. The best
account of that day was written by William Barlow, Dean of Chester, who
also was to become a translator.
Romish customs, he said, "The Bishop of Rome hath
no authority in this land."
Though all tittered at this remark, the king himself,
like Rainolds and many others present, had been born
in the Church of Rome; the faith the king defended was
less than a century old. For all his solemn and flippant
talk, James had really but one devout belief in king-
craft. Though Sir Edward Coke heard him say at the
trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, "I will lose the crown and
my life before I will alter religion/ 1 the crown was his
reason for being, and he had experienced enough ex-
tremes of religion to know there could be no easy defini-
tion of it. In Scotland he had turned from Romanism
despite the fact that or perhaps because his mother
was a Catholic. But in his homeland he had also known
too much of Presbyterianism and rabid Calvinism. Perhaps
he meant it when he said stoutly enough, "I will never
allow in my conscience that the blood of any man shall
be shed for diversity of opinions in religion/* But he did
allow such bloodshed, in an era still bloodstained. After
all, James was the son of Mary of Scotland, who helped
bring about the death of his father, and he owed his
throne to Queen Elizabeth, who had given the word to
behead his mother.
To make up for that tragic past he had now to
maintain his own divine right as king, sitting among men
who, though they knelt to him Bancroft kept falling
to his knees, and even old Archbishop Whitgift knelt
argued among themselves over matters about which he
knew and cared little. As the day wore on, more and more
points of difference came up.
John Rainolds impugned the policies of Bishop Ban-
croft and urged that "old, curious, deep and intricate
questions might be avoided in the fundamental instruc-
tion of a people/' Oddly, in view of his own historic
position, one of Rainolds' complaints was about the role
of books. He was against freedom of the press because
youthful minds must be protected. "Unlawful and sedi-
tious books might be suppressed, at least retained and
imparted to a few, for by the liberty of publishing such
books so commonly, many young scholars and unsettled
minds in both universities and through the whole realm
were corrupted and perverted." Why should anyone read
what is clearly wrong? Rainolds was for an elite to tussle
with the hard sayings while the masses stayed calm,
humble, almost dormant. Here the king was nearer
modern thought and told Rainolds that, in taxing the
Bishop of London that he suffered bad books, he was
a better college man than statesman.
Bancroft for his side denounced the Puritans to his
Majesty as "Cartwright's scholars" their leader Thomas
Cartwright had just died "schismatics, breakers of your
laws; you may know them by their Turkey grogram."
At the meeting the men of the Established Church of
course wore their proper habits of office while the four
Puritans showed their disdain for churchly garb by appear-
ing in plain coarse fabric gowns. The Cartwright reference
was serious because Cartwright had been the boldest of
those who stormed against bishops; he thought the Church
should have only elders. Worse, he thought the Crown
should be under the Church. James knew well that the
Church, with all its bishops, must be under him.
Rainolds was Bancroft's target because, it may be, Ban-
croft was loath to gibe at Chaderton, the other effective
Puritan, who was his lifelong friend. Many of the learned
men had long known each other. England at that time
had only a few million people and ten thousand clergy,
and friendships among scholars were widespread. Rainolds
and Chaderton had gone to Cambridge together, and in
a Town and Gown brawl Chaderton had saved Bancroft's
life, nearly losing his own right hand to do so. Of the
other two Puritans present, Thomas Sparke sat and said
nothing while the fourth, John Knewstubs, "spoke most
affectionately but confusedly/'
The royal ire rose first at Rainolds, though later the
king learned to endure him. With his own party Rainolds
lost some esteem because they considered that, awed by
the place and the company and the arbitrary dictates of
his sovereign, he fell below himself. But the king made
his angry opposition clear. Sir John Harington, the genius
who invented the privy, was present and wrote to his wife
that "the king talked much Latin and disputed with Doc-
tor Rainolds, but he rather used upbraidings than argu-
ments. . . . The Bishops seemed much pleased and said
his majesty spoke by the power of inspiration. I wist not
what they mean, but the spirit was rather foul mouthed."
As the crossfire increased and the meeting got rougher,
perhaps the king saw that a diversion was wanted and
seized upon Rainolds' one acceptable proposal to heal
the breach. Or perhaps James, who thought of himself as
a gifted Bible student, was sincere in seeing the need for
a new translation even though the idea was advanced by
the wrong side. Elizabeth before him had given some sup-
port to those who wished to see the Geneva Bible sup-
planted. James himself as a young man had tried his hand
at making verses from the Psalms, and had written a com-
mentary on Revelation.
The English people were Bible readers. Even before
Wycliffe's Bible, the first in English, had enabled those
who could read to know the Scriptures, early pieces in Eng-
lish had gone from hand to hand. The Wycliffe transla-
tion from the Latin text of the Vulgate was the foundation
of Protestant thinking in England, its survival under ban
and circulation in manuscript copies proof that the new
Church was based upon a religious revolution and not
merely the whim of a king determined to have a divorce
the Pope forbade. An English Bible was one to be read by
the common people. Educated men, high churchmen and
university scholars and royal persons, not only read Latin
easily but wrote and spoke it with ease. Their private
prayers, not merely those of the Church, were in Latin;
so were addresses to the king. As a boy in Stirling Castle,
the young James who would grow up to be king of both
Scotland and England complained that they tried to make
him learn Latin before he knew Scots. The tongue of the
Church was useful as a common language for visitors from
foreign lands, provided they were of the educated class.
But the same class distinction kept the common folk who
knew no Latin from reading the Bible.
William Tyndale was first to undertake a printed Eng-
lish Bible. Having studied under the great Erasmus at
Cambridge, he began translation of the New Testament
from the original Greek and not the Latin translation. At
first he hoped to get help from the Bishop of London, but
Henry VIII and his bishops were not yet willing to let the
people read. In 1524 Tyndale went abroad, a virtual exile,
first to Germany where he saw Luther at Wittenberg and
made arrangements to have his New Testament transla-
tion printed at Worms, using funds given him by a Lon-
Proscribed by Henry VIII, the first English New Testa-
ment to be printed had to be smuggled into the country,
and what copies could be seized by the authorities were
burned. At Marburg, Germany, Tyndale proceeded with
Old Testament translations, and with books that set forth
Reformation doctrines. Henry VIII meanwhile, although
he had left the Roman Church, demanded that Tyndale
be returned to England to be punished for sedition, Tyn-
dale remained on the Continent but at Antwerp in 1535
he fell into the hands of Emperor Charles V, who thrust
him into a dungeon near Brussels. He was shortly sen-
tenced as a heretic, and died at the stake. His last prayer
was, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."
Not all the Tyndale New Testaments were burned, and
enough of them reached England, beginning in 1526, to
make it certain that one day there would be an English
edition. In 1535, the year of Tyndale's death, Miles Cover-
dale edited and produced on the Continent the first com-
plete English Bible, based on Tyndale, the Vulgate, and
Luther's and Zwingli's translations. As Coverdale was a
diplomat, he dedicated the book to Henry, and had no
trouble with English publication. However, the Coverdale
Bible was popularly known as the Bugs Bible because of its
reading of Psalm 91:5: "Thou shalt not nede to be afraid
of any bugges by night/' Two revised editions appeared
in 1537, carrying "the King's most gracious license."
Still another Bible, more closely related to Tyndale's
pioneer work than Coverdale's, appeared in 1537 the so-
called Matthew's Bible. This Bible also obtained a royal
license and in a large folio edition published in 1541,
called the Great Bible, was read in churches. But the house-
hold Bible of the English people was the one produced
at Geneva in 1560, mainly translated by William Whitting-
ham, who married Calvin's daughter. Its popularity was
due in part to its size it was small enough to hold, while
the church Bibles measured more than fifteen inches long
and nine inches wide. Aside from its size, the Geneva Bible
found favor among the followers of Calvin and Knox, but
others found fault with its marginal notes and also with its
wording. It was called the Breeches Bible because its read-
ing of Genesis 3:7 was "and they sewed fig leaves together,
and made themselves breeches."
At the time of the Hampton Court meeting, most Prot-
estants, especially the Puritans, still read and defended
the Geneva translation. In slurring it, James may have
thought to balance his agreement with Rainolds by net-
tling them. Yet at least one rampant Puritan, Hugh
Broughton, the famous Hebrew scholar, had called for a
new Bible. As for the bishops, fifteen of them, as far back
as 1568, had worked on a revision in the Bishops' Bible.
They had failed, however, to win royal sanction for their
version, known as the Treacle Bible because it asked in
Jeremiah 8:22, "Is there not treacle in Gilead?"
James's real reason for objecting to the Geneva Bible
was rooted in his need to feel secure on his new throne.
Some of the marginal notes in the Geneva version had
wording which disturbed him: they seemed to scoff at
kings. If the Bible threatened him, it must be changed.
Away with all marginal notes! And indeed if you read them
in the fat Geneva volume you will find many based on
dogma now outworn. James may have had some right on
his side; he was far from witless.
So clever indeed was his handling of the meeting that,
although he gave the Puritan pleaders no satisfaction and
actually threatened to harry them out of the land, he ap-
peared to some observers to lean toward them. Indeed, the
dean of the chapel said that on that clay the king played
For their part the Puritans, with outward meekness and
inner grumbling, found grace to yield enough to stay well
within the Church of England. Yet after all the talk ended,
it seemed they had won nothing. Indeed there was only
one gain: the new Bible.
Having spoken, James went on about his royal business,
which had nothing to do with translating Scriptures. At
Royston, not far from Cambridge, he was converting a
priory mansion and two old inns, set in six hundred acres,
into a royal shooting box. Royston he came to esteem be-
yond all places for the hunting of hares, rabbits, partridges,
bustards, and plovers. But the king hunted at Newmarket
too, where also there was horse racing. When he had to
return to town for the first Parliament of the new reign, he
occupied the new royal apartments in the Tower of Lon-
don and there, in the Lion's Tower, the king watched three
dogs set upon a lion, which tore two of them apart.
Time to decide about the Bible had to be found between
these duties and pleasures, but the king knew how to dele-
gate power. As soon as James showed approval of Rainolds'
proposal, the ambitious Bishop Bancroft suppressed his
own adverse thoughts and prepared to carry out the royal
will with zeal and dispatch. Robert Cecil, who had served
Elizabeth, served James as well; James called him "my
little beagle" and made him Lord Salisbury. With Cecil,
Bishop Bancroft talked things over and chose the men to
work on a proposal, perhaps casually broached, which the
royal will had now raised to a splendid design. Tyndale's
prayer was now answered in full: James I had ordered
what Tyndale died to do.
Fervent for what his master wished, Bancroft wrote to
an aide: "I ... move you in his majesty's name that,
agreeably to the charge and trust committed unto you, no
time may be overstepped by you for the better furtherance
of this holy work. . . . You will scarcely conceive how
earnest his majesty is to have this work begun."
The King James Bible came about partly because forceful
men thought they could use the project to further their
private aims. In London, when the plague abated, old
Archbishop Whitgift caught cold going from Lambeth
Palace to see Bishop Bancroft at Fulham. Next, dining at
Whitehall, he had a stroke and on the last day of February,
1604, he died. This was Bancroft's opportunity for promo-
tion to the archbishopric, and he seized upon it with eager
Of the ways to win James's approval, the new Bible
might well be one. The task would certainly employ many
of influence within the Church; among those present at
Hampton Court on the clay Rainolds made his speech were
half a dozen William Barlow, John Overall, Thomas
Bilson, Thomas Ravis, Richard Edes, and Lancelot An-
drewes well able to grapple with the work. Good church-
men all, they toadied to James yet got along with Rainolds
and his Puritan supporters.
In the summer of 1604 Bancroft was busy writing to the
other bishops to announce that the king had "appointed
certain learned men . . . for the translation of the Bible/'
and to ask that others be nominated. The bishops were
required to inform themselves of all men learned in the
Bible tongues within their districts. The king wanted to
know of all who had "taken pains in their private study
of the Scriptures," who could clear up places that were
obscure in the ancient texts, and correct mistakes in former
English versions. The bishops would report their findings
to Mr. Lively, "our Hebrew reader in Cambridge, or to
Dr. Harding, our Hebrew reader in Oxford, or to Dr.
Andrewes, Dean of Westminster/' Thus the translation
would have the help of "all our principal learned men
within this our kingdom."
When learned men had been appointed to the number
of four and fifty, it became necessary to think about pay-
ing them. Of the fifty-four, some had no preferred places
in the Church, or else had "too little for their deserts."
Since the king could not "in any convenient time" give
them more, he asked Bancroft to inquire about any vacant
prebends 1 or livings worth twenty pounds a year or more
which might be saved for the learned men. The king
would reserve for one at work on the Bible any vacant
office within his own gift; the Archbishop of York and
the bishops in the metropolitan see of Canterbury, which
still had no head since the death of Whitgift, were asked
to do the same. Bancroft's reward was royal authority to
write letters, surely a sign of preferment to come.
But the king wanted more learned men, even after he
had named the fifty-four, and the handing out of livings
alone would not suffice to pay them. In a letter to the
Bishop of Norwich written on the last day of July, 1604,
Bancroft had to propose that the prelates and clergy sub-
scribe to the cost of the new Bible. The king, he said, was
ready to bear "from his own princely disposition" the
charges of some learned men, although it was only too well
known that the Crown was hard up. Bancroft prayed his
brethren the bishops, and each single dean and chapter,
to give. "I do not think," he wrote, "that a thousand marks
1 A prebend was that part of a church's income granted to a canon or
member of the chapter as his stipend. Twenty pounds then would in pur-
chasing power equal a thousand dollars or more now.
will finish the work." A mark was about two-thirds of a
Although Bancroft added that he would acquaint the
king with how much each gave, the bishops, deans, and
chapters showed no quick zeal in sending money. In fact,
it seems fair to say that the scheme fell through, for noth-
ing further of it has come to light. Bancroft's estimate of
costs must have been far too low. The scholars struggled
along on their own means, though Oxford and Cambridge
and Westminster seem to have given them free board and
room when they were at work.
Of the three named to receive the reports of bishops and
deans in the search for learned men, two, Lively and Hard-
ing, were Hebrew scholars at the two universities. Dr,
John Harding, the rector at Halscy near Oxford, had been
proctor of the university and in 1608 he was elected presi-
dent 2 of Magdalen College by a unanimous vote. The
unanimity suggested a recommendation from the king, as
one of the awards promised translators. But Magdalen had
seethed with unrest since the days of Elizabeth, and the
vote of confidence in Harding coxild have been a protest
against the policy of his predecessor, put in at the queen's
request "to reform late decays and disorders/ 1 That elec-
tion had been far from unanimous, in a college regarded
as a "nursery of Puritans" in its objections to vestments
and ritual. Harding's election marked a return of the
Puritans to power, and during his two years of administra-
tion many "poor scholars" were admitted, the admission
of commoners being part of Puritan policy.
Edward Lively, who for nearly thirty years had held the
regius chair of Hebrexv at Trinity College, Cambridge, was
a man of all work he had to be, to survive. Born about
*545 h studied Hebrew at Trinity under the noted John
Drusitus, and married Catherine, daughter of Thomas
* President, provost, master, or warden all were used as titles for the
heads of various colleges.
Larkin, M.D., who occupied the regius chair of physic.
She bore him thirteen hungry children.
Then as now, the rewards o college teaching consisted
largely of the feelings of well-doing, honor, and hope. To
feed the family, Lively eked out his earnings with hack
writing; the publisher Samuel Purchas said that he was
one of his anonymous writers for his great series of His
Pilgrims. In 1597 Lively signed and published A True
Chronology of the Times of the Persian Monarchy,, a work
written in a quaint but hardly graceful style. Although
it contained a random speculation about the nature of the
locusts eaten by John the Baptist, it had little connection
with the Bible.
Not even by his writing efforts could Lively make a liv-
ing for his household. Once he sold his precious books to
a bishop for three pounds. The most forlorn of all the
learned men, the one for whom we may feel most sorry,
he was never clear of suits at law or other disquieters of
his study. He once had his goods distributed and his cattle
driven off his ground, like Job's; he 'led a life which in
a manner of speaking was nothing else but a continual
flood of waters," and even "his deer, being not so well able
to bear so great a flood as he, even for very sorrow, pres-
ently died." Clearly his was a "lamentable and rueful"
case, though such was the lot of many a scholar in England
at that time.
Perhaps Lively's troubles made him patient; in contrast
with most scholars, he was said to be a humble man who
often suffered the foolish gladly. By the time the king made
him a sort of drudge in the Bible task, his greatly burdened
wife had died, leaving him eleven surviving offspring.
Surely he needed preferment in accordance with the plan,
and on September 20, 1604, he must have been grateful to
get the living at Purleigh in Essex, fairly near to Cam-
The third member of the committee to sift recommen-
dations, and the most Important, was very different; he was
the Dean of Westminster, supreme in the affairs of the
abbey and subject to no higher prelate. Dr. Lancelot An-
drewcs had been among the highest of the high churchmen
at the Hampton Court meeting. Now he was to become
the real head, or chairman, of all those chosen to revise
Andrcwcs was a man for all to like, and one whose fame
has lasted. There are over a million words by and about
him in print, and a volume of his sermons has lately been
reissued. For the Anglo-Catholic he is almost a saint; T. S.
Eliot wrote an essay, "For Lancelot Andrewes." Among
the churchmen who were to translate he was the strongest,
but the most graceful and polite, foil to the Puritans.
He was born in the London parish of All Hallows, Bark-
ing, in 1555. A contemporary biographer wrote that his
father, Thomas Andrewes, was a merchant who for most
of his life "used the seas/' Lancelot went early to the
Coopers' free school at Ratcliff, and then to the well-known
Merchant Tailors* school. "From his tender years," the
biographer testified, "he was totally addicted to the study
of good letters/' Andrewes "studied so hard when others
played that if his parents and masters had not forced him
to play with them, all the play would have been marred/*
As a young scholar at the university, "he never loved or
used any games of ordinary recreation, either within doors
as cards, dice, table chess, or abroad as hats, quoits, bowls,
or any such, but his ordinary exercise and recreation was
walking, either alone by himself or with some other se-
lected companion, with whom he might confer or argue,
and recount their studies/* Once a year, before Easter, he
walked the thirty miles home to Barking from Pembroke
College, where Sir Francis Walsingham helped in his sup-
port. One of the friends with whom he walked and talked
was Edmund Spenser.
Did Spenser affect at all the writing style of Andrewes,
and through him that of the King James Bible? To such
questions there can be no present answer. We do know
that later Francis Bacon, his friend for twenty years, asked
Andrewes' advice on writing. And we know that the great
poetry of the age was all around the scholars as they worked
on the Bible, was in their thought and feeling, and quick-
ened the flow of their language.
Though he was no Elizabethan Wordsworth, Andrewes
observed and loved the tamer kinds of nature: "He would
often profess that to observe the grass, herbs, corn, trees,
cattle, earth, water, heavens, any of the creatures, and to
contemplate their natures, orders, virtues, uses, was ever
to him the greatest mirth, content and recreation that
could be/* This penchant for common nature showed in
his own writings and perhaps through some Bible passages
in which he had a hand.
On his walks along the highways from Barking to Cam-
bridge Andrewes must have seen the rogues who had long
wandered there, the tinkers and peddlers, the wild home-
less boys, the rufflers or holdup men and beggars, the
minstrels singing and selling coarse ballads, the vagrant
former soldiers. About these, pamphlets by Thomas Dek-
ker and others, most of them with second-hand knowledge,
appeared while the work on the Bible went on and may
have helped Andrewes and the other translators cope with
the scriptural censures of evil people.
After he finished his courses at Pembroke, young An-
drewes became the catechist, giving lectures on the Ten
Commandments at three o'clock on Saturdays and Sun-
days. People came to hear him from other colleges and
from the country round about; they made notes and passed
them on to friends. Thus samples of his early lectures are
On the command to make no graven images, Andrewes
said, "Though God the law-maker appointed the repre-
sentation of cherubim and of the brazen serpent, yet may
not man presume to devise the like; he must take such
resemblances as God himself gave him, and not of his own
invention propound any." Unless of course, he added, God
should direct him as He directed Moses.
Of "Thou shah not take the name of the Lord thy God
in vain/' Andrewcs spoke to distinguish between oaths and
vows, and between those necessary and those voluntary.
He dealt with swearing in a later sermon. Throughout his
logic was clever, like that of the earlier schoolmen; and to
the words of Scripture, though of course he believed them
all, he applied what he thought was a divine common sense,
He knew for instance that certain work must proceed on
the Sabbath, and made strenuous effort to reconcile the
Decalogue with the law of nature which, he said, was the
image of God, Thus of killing he found that beasts have
no right of society with us, because they lack reason. It
cannot be a sin to use them for the end for which they
were ordained: the less perfect for the more perfect, herbs
for beasts and both for man. In the Bible God ordered a
lot of killing, so to Andrewes it would have been foolish
to say that God forbade the taking of any life.
Of the commandment to honor father and mother, he
said we should all know what honor is and where it is due.
God had not made all men alike, but made some partakers
of His excellence and set them in superior places, others
after a meaner degree and set thorn in a lower place, that
society might be maintained. Did God create men equal?
After Pembroke, Andrewes was chaplain to his patron
Walsingham and to Archbishop Whitgift; and later rector
of St. Giles in London's Cripplegate. In 1586, when he was
only thirty-one, he was made one of the ttvelve chaplains
to Queen Elizabeth, who loved having young men around
her. She found Andrewes humane, cordial, gracious, be-
nign, and took delight in the grave manner of his preach*
Of this preaching there are varied reports. One said that
he was an angel in the pulpit. T. S. Eliot said he took a
word and derived the world from it, and ranked his ser-
mons with the finest English prose of their time or any
time. Yet some of his contemporaries said his style was
jerky, with too much word play, too many conceits, quirks,
puns. He was learned but did play with his text as a jacka-
napes does, who takes up a thing and tosses it. Witty, he
was sometimes satirical; yet Thomas Fuller said that he
had a guileless simplicity both of manner and mind, an
unaffected modesty and a rare sense of humor.
We have Andrewes only on paper; in action he must
have had a charm of delivery that we fail to find in the
printed words. A biographer who had been his secretary,
Henry Isaacson, said that God blessed his painful preach-
ings; painful, in those days, meant taking pains.
Besides preaching Andrewes loved to manage. In 1589
he became Master of Pembroke Hall, where he managed
to pay off the college debts and have a surplus. Such capa-
bility would be useful in directing the Bible work.
Andrewes also loved teaching and when in 1601 Eliza-
beth made him Dean of Westminster, he often took charge
of the Westminster School in his own person. The young
students were his special care. "What pains Dr. Andrewes
did take both day and night. . . . He did often supply
the place both of the head school master and usher for
the space of a whole week at a time, and gave us not an
hour of loitering from morning to night. ... He caused
our exercises in prose and verse to be brought to him, to
examine our style and proficiency. . . . He never walked
to Chiswick for his recreation without a brace of this young
fry, and in that wayfaring leisure had a singular dexterity
to fill those narrow vessels with a funnel." Thrice a week
or oftener he called the uppermost scholars to his lodgings
from eight till eleven at night, unfolding to them the rudi-
ments of Greek and the elements of Hebrew grammar;
he was a night worker and said they were no true scholars
who came to speak with him before noon.
All this he did, they said, without compulsion or correc-
tion; "Nay, I never heard him utter so much as a word
of austerity among us." So we get glimpses of the rigid,
but on the whole kind, schooling of the English divines.
Andrcwcs was with Elizabeth when she died and
preached when she was buried. Then he aided in the Ab-
bey rites at the coronation of James. The new king ad-
mired him "beyond all other divines, not only for his
transcendant gift in preaching, but for his excellency and
solidity in all kinds of learning." Fuller said, "His gravity
in manner awed King James, who refrained from that
mirth and liberty in the presence of this prelate which he
otherwise assumed to himself/* Yet Andrcwcs' smiling face
in a portrait suggests his own very real sense of humor.
One of the rarest linguists in Christendom, Andrewes
knew fifteen languages, and was so skilled in all of them,
especially the Oriental ones, that Fuller suggested he might
"almost have served as an interpreter general at the con-
fusion of tongues/* In writing he was tireless, using an
amanuensis only to transcribe that which he had first writ-
ten in his own hand.
Many thought him most fit to succeed old John Whitgift
as Archbishop of Canterbury. King James, under the eye
of Richard Bancroft who was already acting in Whitgift's
place, delayed in raising anyone to that position* The king
liked Andrewes but had to depend more on Bancroft, -who
threw his weight about and was less easygoing with the
While Andrewes valued a high ritual, he never forced
it on others. He had the highest scruples in giving prefer-
ments to the clergy, abhorred simony and strove always to
find the fittest man for any place he had to fill. He had
a wide knowledge of scholars throughout England and
good judgment in weighing their talents. In short, this
thoughtful walker possessed the traits most useful in choos-
ing the men to make over the English Bible, and in weld-
ing them into a working unit.
Scholars and preachers were then poring over all por-
tions of the Bible and writing on all the texts. Though the
king had named fifty-four learned men, he intended many
more to share in the work. Some lists today name only
forty-seven but I have found more than the fifty-four, if we
include replacements for those who died. The final version
contains contributions from countless unknown linguists.
Many who sought advancement buzzed around the new
king with servile praises. For instance William Thorne,
about thirty-three and Dean of Chichester at the end of
1601, royal Hebrew reader at New College, Oxford, and
greatly skilled in the sacred tongues, wrote and printed his
Kenning Glass for a Christian King based on the text "Be-
hold the man." Though Thome's mirror for the perfect
monarch repeated the Pauline advice against "acceptance
of persons/' of course James was flattered and made
Thorne one of the learned men.
Thome's name has never appeared on the many lists
of translators. That he belonged with the rest is proved
by a paper, preserved in The Public Works Office, Lon-
don, saying that Mr. Thorne, king's chaplain, "is now . . .
very necessarily employed in the translation of that part
of the Old Testament" being done at Oxford, and urging
that the church promote him further, as "very good and
honest." 3 Thorne, in fact, must have been one of the
scholars early chosen.
Though many sought to be considered worthy, the na-
ture of the design demanded men of proved ability. And
so, although the new king would give his name to the new
Bible, its translators were Elizabethans all.
a Manuscript, Public Records Office. London, 1606.
While the high churchmen were adding to their prefer-
ment by work on the new Bible, what of the Puritans who
had suggested it?
Rainolds, who made the proposal, was among the fore-
most scholars in Elizabethan and early Stuart England.
Those who knew him held him to be the most; learned
man in England, pious, courteous, modest, kind, and
wholly honest, with a vast memory that made him "a living
library, a third university."
John Rainolds was born about Michaelmas, 1549, at
Pinloe near Exeter in Devonshire. The fifth son of Richard
Rainolds, a papist, he went to Corpus Christi College, Ox-
ford, where he "wholly addicted himself" to the study of
the Holy Scriptures. As a young convert from the Roman
Church, he must have had many inner conflicts as he
escaped more and more from beliefs in which even as a
child he had been restive. Others were going through the
same experience; at Oxford as elsewhere it was a stirring
time of rebirth and reform. Most people had grown tip in
families holding to the Roman Church.
Soon after he got his degree, Rainolds was named Greek
reader, and his fame grew fast from his lectures. Among
the students he tutored was Richard Hooker, who was to
write The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,, a work of influ-
ence even today. Rainolds himself read all the Latin and
Greek fathers, and all the ancient records of the Church
that he could come by. He studied Aristotle and wrote a
commentary that was highly praised. Also he practiced
a style of writing, later called Euphuistic after Lyly's
Euphues, which was based on alliteration and classic pat-
terns of formal balance.
In 1579 he wrote a report over six hundred pages long
of his attempt an assignment from Sir Francis Walsing-
ham to turn from popish ways a young man confined in
the Tower of London. To the poor imprisoned papist
Rainolds was kind after a fashion, since he had been born
a papist too, but also firm and severe. The small differ-
ences between them he compared to "small holes in ships
at the which a great deal of water will come in, enough
to drown the ship if they have been left open as long as
these have been in the ship of the church." Rainolds set
down all that was said by both during long sessions in the
Tower, in which he prayed "God give you both a soft heart
and an understanding mind that you may be able wisely
to discern and gladly to embrace the truth when you shall
hear it." Alas, the stubborn prisoner spent "twenty days in
irons for not yielding to one Rainolds/'
In 1586 Rainolds began lectures founded by Walsing-
ham, at twenty pounds a year, to confute Romish tenets.
Many hearers came three times a week, and those who
believed as he did thought that he was doing great good.
Next, in 1592, he began an assault on stage plays. In
1566 when Rainolds was a student at Oxford, Queen Eliza-
beth had paid a visit to the university. At Corpus Christi
College a play composed for her was acted, with Rainolds,
then seventeen, playing the role of a female. The queen
enjoyed the performance, laughing much and thanking
the author for his pains. Now, nearly thirty years after,
Rainolds could not forgive himself for acting the part of
a girL Nearly all his pamphlet, "The Overthrow o Stage
Plays/* was about how unlawful it was for men to wear
women's clothing and for people to see such shameful
make-believe. To him unlawful meant against the Bible.
Had not the law of God, in Deuteronomy 22:5, forbidden
a man to put on woman's raiment? But for some years more
the English stage would continue to present boy actors in
Of the plays themselves Rainolds complained, "They
meditate how they may inflame a tender youth with love,
entice him to dalliance, to whoredom, to incest, inure their
minds and bodies to uncomely, dissolute, railing, boasting,
knavish, foolish, brainsick, drunken conceits, words and
gestures." Later the Puritans were to close the theaters,
which would open again in the reign of Charles II, more
corrupt and obscene than ever.
After some show of reason Rainolds went on to attack
other entertainment of the times. "You say that there is
a time for sports, plays, dances, a time for earnest studies;
the man consisted! not of one part alone; he hath a body
as well as a mind. Time of recreation is necessary, I grant,
and think as necessary for scholars that are scholars indeed,
I mean good students, as it is for any/ 1 Yet, he argues, "in
my opinion it were not fit for them to play at stool ball
among wenches, nor at mum chance and maw [a card
game] with idle loose companions, nor at trunks [a sort
of bagatelle] in guild halls, nor to dance about the may-
pole, nor to rifle [gamble with dice] in ale houses, nor to
carouse in taverns, nor to rob orchards." Stool ball was
a sort of cricket, an Easter game played between men and
women with, as stake, a pudding or omelet flavored with
tansy juice in memory of the Passover bitter herbs.
Now in 159$ the queen was again at Oxford, and as she
was leaving she sent for the heads of houses and others*
Then she "schooled Doctor Rainolds for his obstinate
preciseness, willing him to follow her laws and not mm
before them/ 1
Yet despite his strictness Rainolds was credited with "a
sweet gift in preaching" and a sharp and nimble wit. Pa-
tient and full of vigor, he conversed with young students
"so familiarly and so profitably that whatsoever, how often
soever, how much soever men desired to learn from him
in any kind of knowledge/' they could daily draw it from
his mouth "as an ever springing and never failing well/*
In 1593 he became Dean of Lincoln, and six years
later he changed places with the troubled president of
Corpus Christi College. There he set about to reduce a
long turmoil and to repair and make lovely the chancel,
the library, the hall; also to improve the scholarships and
chaplainships. "Our commons/' he said of the college,
"are I confess in many places slender and short of that
which our good founders meant for us, which hath risen
through the want of faithful stewards, yet nowhere is it
so scant as that we are enforced to gather herbs to make
pottage, or to feed on a few barley leaves/' He complained
rather of heads who took what was meant for others and
devoured it, "as though our colleges were meant only for
heads, not at all for members." In such pleas for the wider
spreading of good he showed himself a man of sense.
Indeed, as a Puritan dean in the college where Puritans
were strong, Rainolds mellowed. He was gentle and pur-
sued what he thought a righteous mean, wearing the square
cap and the surplice and kneeling when he received the
holy bread and wine. So content was he that he declined
the queen's offer to make him a bishop. He had gracious
words in these days even for women: "Think you that your
wives, children, and servants have no souls, or that they
are given them only for this life, instead of salt, to keep
their bodies from putrefying?"
Yet "bitter words were daily shot at him" in the con-
troversy of the time, and in 1602, as he walked in London,
in Finsbury Fields "an arrow whether shot purposely by
some Jesuited papist or at random, fell upon his breast
but entered not his body."
Such was the man, simple enough at heart,, whom King
James had asked to Hampton Court as the "foreman" of
the Puritans, who there as if on the spur of the moment
asked that the Bible be rendered afresh in English, the
man who was now to have a large share in the task. In spirit
he was an Elizabethan artist in words who aided not only
in finding happy phrases and rhythms but in fixing what
was good in the Geneva version and others before it. In his
hands the Bible would be safe.
With him to Hampton Court had gone the beloved
Laurence Chaderton. Chaderton was born about 1537 ' in
Lancashire, far from Rainolds' Devon. His family, like
Rainolds', was Catholic, and his father was wealthy enough
to trust the boy's early education to tutors who allowed
him to spend his time in country sports. Then an able
and learned tutor gave him good papist training and tried,
in accordance with the father's wish, to push him into law.
But before the Inns of Court came Christ College, Cam-
bridge; there the Puritans were strong and young Chader-
ton became a convert.
His father wrote to offer him thirty pounds a year to quit
Cambridge: "Son Laurence, if you will renounce the new
sect which you have joined, you may expect all the happi-
ness which the care of an indulgent father can assure you;
othenvise, I enclose a shilling to buy a wallet. Go and beg/'
With quiet courage Laurence refused this melodramatic
offer, choosing to go on as a Puritan, and obtaining a schol-
arship. He eked out his means with some teaching, and
his father may have helped him a little in spite of the
At Cambridge Chaderton studied Latin, Greek, and
Hebrew, learned French, Italian, and Spanish, and in-
dulged a taste for botany. More robust than Rainolds, he
engaged with vigor in Town and Gown fights, yet was also
grave, learned, and pious, with a strict regard for the Sab-
bath. He was credited with a plain but cogent way of
preaching and a firm dislike of Arminianism, which set up
free will against free grace and taught that predestination
is conditional, not absolute. At St. Clement's, Cambridge,
he started a series of afternoon lectures or sermons that
continued for fifty years.
He also preached at Paul's Cross, which long stood in
the northeast part of St. Paul's churchyard, in the angle
between the choir and the north transept. Here it was that
the Tyndale Bible was burned. You may look in vain for
this landmark now, for they tore it down in the days of
the Long Parliament.
In 1576 Chaderton had to choose between his Cam-
bridge fellowship and marriage. He resigned in order to
marry Cecilia, daughter of Nicholas Culverwell, the
queen's wine merchant. It was a long, happy union, with
one daughter. Few of those who revised the Bible for King
James had wives. Chaderton's domestic arrangements in-
cluded servants, to whom he was said to be kind; thus he
never kept a servant from public worship to cook victuals,
saying, "I desire as much to have my servants know the
Lord as myself." Yet if a servant was at any time given
to lying or any other open vice, "he would not suffer her
to remain in his house though she do ever so much work."
Besides this fitting concern for the souls and morals of
those who served him, Chaderton was credited with show-
ing "a living affection for the poor, which is a certain token
of a sound Christian."
The Puritans asked both words and works, and in their
conflict with the Establishment over preaching versus
forms, they had a great desire for a preaching clergy of
their own. At St. Paul's Chaderton had complained, as the
Puritans commonly did, against "those who serve mortal
and sinful men with simony, flattering words, and servile
obedience, not lawfully to obtain one room in the vine-
yard of the Lord, but two, three, four or more places"
meaning those of the clergy who held two or more livings
at once. Where, he asked, "are the lips o the ministers
which do preserve knowledge, or those messengers o God,
at whose mouths His poor people should seek His law?
Nay rather, where are not whole swarms of idle, ignorant
and ungodly curates and readers who neither can nor will
go before the dear flock of Christ in soundness of doctrine
and integrity of life?''
In 1583 Sir Walter Mildmay, brother-in-law of Walsing-
ham, treasurer of the queen '$ household, and a defender
of the Puritans in their battle with the bishops, offered to
found Emmanuel College if Chaderton would be its head.
The plan was for the fellows of Emmanuel not to stay in
the college at peace with their endless studies, as too many
did, but to go out and spread knowledge in all parts of the
country. After the college opened, the queen said to Mild-
may, "Sir Walter, I hear you have erected a Puritan found-
dation." He replied, "No, madam, far be it from me to
countenance anything contrary to your established laws,
but I have set an acorn which, when it becomes an oak,
God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof/ 1
Chaderton himself declared a dozen years later that he
"neither publicly nor privately spake any thing either out
of a study of contradiction or with any kind of speaking
evil of any man, but only publicly to back and defend the
true doctrine of the Church of England," Though he felt
most friendly toward the extreme Puritan party, he had
no scruples about the sign of the cross in baptism and
other disputed forms, and never separated himself from
the disciplines of the Church or the authority of the law.
When high church critics complained that communicants
sat during the Lord's Supper in Emmanuel College, he
said that it was difficult to kneel by reason of the seats
being placed as they were, but that they had some kneeling.
Someone had said that a Puritan was "a Protestant frayed
out of his wits," but such men as Rainolds and Chaderton
were not easily frayed. If they could not resolve the differ-
ences that divided them from those who clung to the old
forms, they could find ways to work and points of agree-
ment. About a right English Bible, grounded on a wide
range of learning, there could be no real dispute. It could
help the many with knowledge.
Such a Bible would have room for all persuasions among
the countless shades of strife, from the Brownists whom
none defended to those who under Bishop Bancroft
wielded the huge willful strength of men entrenched in
power. The struggle with these last was thirty years old
and would go on until some of those who wanted to cleanse
the Church would sail across the sea as Pilgrims. But first,
for the new Bible, the strife between factions would be
healthy. The Bible has always thrived on turmoil.
Though their differences like their skills were Eliza-
bethan, those of the several sides who joined in the work
would produce a masterpiece to transcend their age. With
nice balance they put much of themselves and the back-
ground of the times into it, while also keeping much of
themselves and their background out of it.
That those who worked on the new Bible had varied
points of view was, then, to be no stumbling block but
instead to insure its having something for all. We may
regret that the learned translators were divided by no
wider differences: there were among them no Roman
Catholics, Jews, or women. They were male Protestants,
roughly or smoothly within the Church of England, and
as such they thought in certain grooves. The marvel is
that they did so well.
The Westminster Qroups
The learned men arranged to carry on their work of
translation in groups convenient to the other duties
which, for many of them, came first. There were six
groups: two at Westminster, one for the Old Testament
and one for the New; two at Oxford, one for each Testa-
ment; and two at Cambridge, one for the Old Testament
and one for the Apocrypha.
The Westminster group of the Old Testament was
headed by Lancelot Andrewes, and met in his pleasant
deanery. It included John Overall, Dean of St. Paul's;
Hadrian Saravia, John Layfield, Robert Tigue, Francis
Burleigh, Jeffrey King, Richard Thomson, William Bed-
well, and Richard Clarke, all Hebrew scholars, greater or
lesser. I shall present here the chief of these men and tell
briefly of the rest in a postscript at the end of this book.
John Overall, son o George Overall, was baptized in
the cloth-making village of Hadleigh, Suffolk, some fifty
miles from London, March 2, 1560. Within a little over
a year he appears to have been an orphan. At the Hadleigh
grammar school he was a sizar, or poor student, who served
the master for his board and lodging. Two or three years
later he moved on with the master to Trinity College.
Grave and handsome, he was in 1592 vicar at Epping, be-
yond Epping Forest, in Essex. In 1596 he rose to the royal
chair of divinity at Cambridge. Two years later, after
some conflict about the choice, he became, at the queen's
behest, Master of Catherine Hall there. For one who had
been a poor boy it was a very rapid advance.
Yet from this, advancement was to come. In 1602 the
queen, on the urging of Sir Philip Sidney's friend, Sir
Fulke Greville, made Overall Dean of St. Paul's. He of
course retained his post at Cambridge.
At that time St. Paul's was a peculiar problem, its state
one far from ideal grace. The nave, called Paul's Walk,
had long been a meeting and trading place for all sorts of
rough, noisy people. In an uproar like that of swarming
bees, men and women thronged there to exchange news,
to buy and sell horses, servants, and all kinds of things,
to pick pockets and to concoct lawless schemes. It was a
place where fops showed off and women from the streets
sought, found, and bargained with men. Thomas Dekker
wrote of the scene:
What swaggering, what facing and out facing. What shuf-
fling, what shouldering, what justling, what jeering, what
byting of thumbs to beget quarrels, what holding uppe of finger
to remember drunken meetings, what braving with feathers,
what bearding with mustachoes, what casting open of cloakes
to publish new clothes, what muffling in cloakes to hyde broken
elbows . . . such trampling up and downe, such spetting, such
balking, and such humming (every man's lips making a noise,
yet not a word to be understoode) . . . foote by foote, and
elbow by elbow, shall you see walking the Knight, the Gull,
the Gallant, the upstart, the Gentleman, the Clowne, the Cap-
taine, the Apple-squire (pander), the Lawyer, the Usurer, the
Citizen, the Bankerout, the Scholler, the Begger, the Doctor,
the Ideot, the Ruffian, the Choater, the Puritan, the Cutthroat,
the Hye-man, the Low-men, the True-man, and the Thiefe . . .
whilst devotion kneeles at her prayers, doth prophanation walk
under her nose in contempt of Religion.
Indeed it seemed that in Paul's Walk all the evil folk
mentioned in the Bible rambled and strutted. There the
jostling, the shuffling, the swearing, the coney catching,
the squeals and shrieks and guffaws, the whole smelly hub-
bub, became so scandalous that Shakespeare in Henry IV,
Part II, and Ben Jonson in Every Man in His Humour^
make reference to this profanation.
Part of Overall's work as dean was to clean up this messy
traffic. This he did rather quickly, for a time at least, while
he rode between London and Cambridge. He also ex-
tended his responsibilities by getting for himself the liv-
ings at Algarkirk in Lincolnshire and Clothal in Hert-
fordshire, He was one of those condemned by Chaderton
and others for being "plural parsons* 1 with several in-
Now at the age of forty-four, just before he became a
Bible translator, he felt able to support a wife. On April
16, 1604, at Mitcham, Surrey, he married the lovely Anne,
daughter of Edward Orwell of Christ Church, London.
Called "the greatest beauty of her time in England," she
was the most recent bride among the learned men as the
Bible translation got under way. Before it was done, her
flighty conduct would occasion gossip.
Why Overall was placed in the Hebrew group at West-
minster is unclear, for he knew little of that language, be-
ing mainly a Latin scholar. Fuller wrote of him that on his
appointment to preach before the queen, "he professed
. . . that he had spoken Latin so long, it was troublesome
to speak English in a continued oration." With no great
fondness for preaching, he was content to quote the church
fathers, and in general his views made him "a discreet
presser of conformity/' Thus he wrote, "If any man shall
therefore affirm that ... all civil power, jurisdiction, and
authority was first derived from the people and disordered
multitude, or either is originally still in them or else de-
duced by their consents, naturally from them, and is not
God's ordinance originally descending from Him and
depending upon Him, he doth greatly err." Clearly Over-
all had no use for any sense of commonwealth, no belief
that the people of themselves could evolve government.
Asked by the Earl of Essex whether a man might law-
fully enjoy recreation upon the Sabbath after evening
prayer, Overall thought that he might that it was "neces-
sary that both body and mind should have recreation, that
a man may be so tedious and worn out in the service of
God that he may not be fit for God's service." Thus the
dean, with all his duties, seems to have thought that serv-
ing God might be wearing. Yet while he was vicar at
Epping he had written of a common theological point
with simplicity and almost evangelical zeal: "I was re-
quested to come visit some of my parish that were sick,
and coming I found them sicker in mind than body. The
thing that troubled their minds, so they said, was this.
They could not be persuaded that Christ died for them.
Wherein, having by the comforts of the gospel, as I thought
best, somewhat eased and persuaded them, I took occa-
sion afterward in my sermon, for their sakes, to handle
this point . . . Christ died for all men sufficiently, for
the believer only effectually, as the sun that shineth suffi-
ciently to give light to all, though it doth it effectually
only to them that open their eyes; as water that is suffi-
cient to quench all the thirsty, but doth it only to them
that drink it; as physic that is sufficient to cure all maladies,
but doth it effectually only where it is applied. So Christ,
the sum of righteousness, the water of life, the heavenly
We may discount some of the praise of Overall because
it is of the kind that the florid writers about these Eliza-
bethan worthies gave freely to all. Yet he was a prodigious
learned man, they said, learned and judicious, with a
strong brain to improve his great reading, and accounted
one of the most learned, controversial divines of his day,
one of the most profound of the English nation.
As a translator it was easy for Overall to go from St.
Paul's to Westminster, a trifle over two miles. He could
have gone by road or by Thames river boat. St. Paul's was
under Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London. To what
extent the ambitious bishop and the successful dean were
jealous of each other can only be surmised, but Overall
seems to have been enough in the Bancroft party to rise
with him. He made himself deeply useful to the bishops
by preparing a great volume of canons.
Like Andrewes and Overall, Dr. Hadrian Saravia ap-
proved the divine right of the kings and the august func-
tions of bishops. King James and Bishop Bancroft must
have found him a wholly safe man, sound in doctrine and
practice. He was "a terrible high churchman/ 1 one to
exude the richer airs of Europe, for he was among the
few learned men of foreign birth and training. Born in
Artois in 1531 and therefore the oldest translator, Saravia
had a father of Spanish descent and a Flemish mother.
Both had become Protestants, so he had no popish child-
hood to outgrow.
After training for the Church in the Low Countries,
Saravia took part in drawing up the Walloon confession
of faith and founded the Walloon church in Brussels.
Copies of the confession were given to the Prince of
Orange and to Count Egmont, the leaders of the Low
Countries' Protestants, on behalf of the Calvinists. At
Leyden, Saravia was professor of divinity in the university
and received the degree of doctor of divinity while he was
pastor of the French Reformed Church there. No link
appears between him and the Pilgrims or Brownists who
fled from England to Holland and later sailed from
Leyden to Plymouth, Massachusetts, after Saravia had
left the Low Countries.
Before reaching England Saravia was pastor of a church
at Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Oxford gave him the
doctor of divinity degree in 1590. There, while serving
as vicar of Lewisham in Kent, he was a prebend of Canter-
bury, Worcester, and Westminster. His great Mend was
Richard Hooker, Rainolds' student, who tried to lessen
conflicts and became known as the seeker for the golden
mean, Izaac Walton wrote that "those two excellent per-
sons began a holy friendship increasing daily to so high
and holy affection that their two wills seemed to be but
one and the same. . . . They were supposed to be con-
fessors to each other."
Much of Saravia's writing is in Latin, but in plain
English he maintained the authority of the bishops by
apostolic warrant, and his "Treatise on the Different De-
grees of the Christian Priesthood/' published in 1590,
maintained that "by apostles are meant bishops/' with
Titus and Timotheus in their turn created bishops by di-
vinely authorized ordination. He warned the clergy of
Guernsey that to overthrow this primitive polity was "not
so much to reform as to deform/ 1 and explained that "a
sound form of government does not allow all to have equal
authority for governing/' Clearly he was a man who dis-
liked change and distrusted novelty.
Thus, writing of the great value of the universities, he
said that without these seminaries of all learning and
virtue, "the refinements of society and civilization gen-
erally would vanish, and leave mankind to relapse into
that wild state of the savages of America/' Only three of
the learned men seem to have mentioned America, then
so vastly unknown, and Saravia appears to have looked
upon the New World with distaste and horror.
A younger member of the Hebrew group at West-
minster, Dr. John Layfield, had actually gone out with
those daring men who enlarged England's pride by voy-
age to lands beyond the seas. Layfield, a fellow of Trinity
College, Cambridge, fared forth to the West Indies as
chaplain to the third Earl of Cumberland.
Dr. Layfield enjoyed the flaunting colors of the tropics,
and described with childlike delight what he saw on the
islands where he landed. His is the sole really mundane
writing that we have by any of the translators; he was
earthy where all the rest were lofty. His long account of
the voyage to Puerto Rico may be read in Purchas, His
The voyage was made in a spring late in the 1590'$,
some say 1596, others 1598. In May at the island of Do-
minica Layfield wrote: "By two in the afternoon we were
come so near abroad the shore that we were met with
many canoes manned with men wholly naked, saving that
they had chains and bracelets and some bodkins in their
ears, or some strap in their nostrils or lips. . . . They
are men of good proportions, strong and light limbed, but
few of them tall, their wits able to direct them to things
bodily profitable. . . . They have wickers platted some-
thing like a broad shield to defend the rain, they that
want these use a very broad leaf for that purpose. They
provide shelter against the rain because it washeth off
their red painting, laid so on that if you touch it you
shall find it on your fingers. . . . They saw their women
as naked as we had seen their men and alike attired even
to the boring of their lips and ears. Yet in that nakedness
they discovered some sparks of modesty, not willingly
coming in the sight of strange and apparelled men, and
when they did come busy to cover what should have been
better covered. . . ."
Though we can prove nothing by mere diction, there
are many words in this passage that are found in the King
James Bible: apparel, attired, discovered, nakedness, bor-
ing ears, covered, profitable. The rhythms of Layfield also
may remind us faintly of those in the books on which he
"The soil is very fat," he wrote, "even in the most
neglected places matching the garden plats in England
for a rich black mold; so mountainous (certain in the
places where we came near the sea coasts) that the valleys
may better be called pits than plains, and withall so im-
passably wooded that it is marvelous how those naked
souls can be able to pull themselves through them with-
out renting their natural clothes. . . . These hills are
apparelled with very goodly trees of many sorts. The tall-
ness of these unrequested trees makes the hills seem more
hilly than of themselves happily they are; for they grow
so like good children of some happy civil body, without
envy or oppression, as that they look like a proud meadow
about Oxford, when after some eruption Thames is again
couched low within his own banks, leaving the earth's
mantle more rugged and flaky then otherwise it would
Of Puerto Rico he wrote: "The soldiers which were
found to lie abroad in the fields, when they awaked found
as much of their bodies as lay upwards to be very wet.
. . . A wolvish kind of wild dogs which are bred in the
woods and there do go in great companies together . . .
live off crabs ... an animal, a living and sensible crea-
ture . . . these woods are full of those crabs. . . . Par-
rots and parakeets are here ... I have ordinarily seen
them fly in flocks. . . ."
More than Lancelot Andrewes even, Layfield observed
details and set them down. About plants he was exact and
"A woody pine apple is of an exceeding durance and
lasting. The taste of this fruit is very delicious, so as it
quickly breedeth a fullness. For I cannot like it in the
palate to any (me thinks) better than to very ripe straw-
berries and cream, the rather if a man hath already eaten
almost his belly full. ... It groweth upon a bush like
About drinks, which intrigued all Elizabethans, he said:
"The Spaniard hath two . . . sorts of drink, the one
called Guacapo made of molasses (that is the coarsest of
their sugar) and some spices; the other kind, and used
by the better sort of them, is called Alo which is a kind
of Bragget (honey and ale fermented together) with many
hot spices. . . ." Of cassava juice he wrote: "Sodden,
there is made a pretty kind of drink somewhat like small
ale/ 1 This is the writing of one who imbibed all the drinks
with taste and good cheer. Conceivably he later relished
fixing in English the Bible passages about drinking.
The strange plantains impressed him. "These plantains
are a fruit which grow on a shrub between an herb and
a tree; but it is commonly called a tree of the height of
a man, the stem of it as big as a man's thigh, the fruit
itself of the bigness and shape of a goat's horn, it groweth
yellowish and mellow being ripe either upon the tree or
with keeping, and then eaten raw or roasted it is a good
meat, coming near to the relish of an Apple-John [a new
word when Layfield wrote] or a duson that hath been
kept till it is over-ripe, saving that methought I still found
some taste of a root in it, the meat of it is lapped up in
a thin skin, which being scored the long way with a knife,
delivereth what is within it. . . ." That is an early record
of the banana, a word which dates from 1597.
"Their Yerva will not have me forget it. This herb
is a little contemptible weed to look upon, with a long
wood stalk creeping upon the ground, and seldom lifting
itself above a handful high on the ground. But it hath a
property which confoundeth my understanding, and per-
haps will seem strange in the way of philosophers, who
have denied every part of sense to any plant; yet this cer-
tainly seemeth to have feeling. For if you lay your finger
or a stick upon the leaves of it, not only that very piece
which you touched but that that is near to it will contract
itself and run together, as if it, were presently dead and
withered, not only the leaves but the very sprigs, being
touched, will so disdainfully withdraw themselves, as if
they would slip themselves rather than be touched, in
which state both leaf and sprig will continue a good while,
before it return to the former great and flourishing form,
and they say that so long as the party which touched it
standeth by it, it will not open, but after his departure it
will. ... It must be more than sense, whence such a
sullenness can proceed."
That is easy, zestful writing, fairly direct though loose.
Compare it with the simple, exact, firm accounts of the
temple and tabernacle in Exodus and I Kings. Of Dr.
Layfield it is said that "being skilled in architecture, his
judgment was much relied on for the fabric of the taber-
nacle and temple." 1
In 1602 Dr. Layfield became rector of a great London
church, St. Clement Danes, which stands amid a parting
of the traffic in the Strand. There, near where the learned
men worked on the Bible at Westminster, he stayed for
Like Dean Overall, not long before the translating be-
gan and doubtless because he too had achieved a good
living, Layfield let romance into his life. On January 22,
1603, John Layfield, aged forty, was licensed to marry
Elizabeth, widow of John Brickett. She seems at once to
have melted into his background, for we have no further
mention of her. When Layfield needed more money,
Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, wrote to his half brother,
Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, asking that the latter give
the living at Gravely to his "well worthy" chaplain, Dr.
Layfield. There is no record showing whether he got the
Another of the younger men in the Westminster He-
brew group, Richard Thomson, called "Dutch" Thomson,
was born in Holland of English parents. In 1587 he took
his B.A. at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and he received his
M.A. degree from both Cambridge and Oxford. His living
was at Snailwell, Cambridgeshire. Later his sponsor was
1 Collin, Ecclesiastical History, 1852. Vol. VII, page 337. This is the only
plain statement I have found about what wording any translator wrought.
Sir Robert Killigrew. A great interpreter of Martial's
Latin epigrams, he was also called a "grand propagator
of Arminianisin," the anti-Calvinist way of thought de-
veloped in Holland.
Prynne said he was "a debauched drunken English
Dutchman who seldom went to bed one night sober." Yet
Richard Montague called him "a most admirable philol-
oger." Few divines were averse to drinking, and few
wholly abstained from it. "Dutch" Thomson is the only
one of the learned men to whom any referred as drunken.
But if he had what others may have thought too much
by night, he arose in the morning with his head clear
enough to go forward competently with the day's work.
William Bedwell was a far more famous scholar in
England, where he was the father of Arabic studies. Arabic
he held to be the "only language of religion" as well as
the chief language of diplomacy and business, "from the
Fortunate Islands to the China Seas." Born in 1562, Bed-
well was of Trinity College, Cambridge, and traveled in
Holland, where he went to Leyden to see the Arabic col-
lections of Scaliger, the famous linguist. In 1601 he was
rector of St. Ethelburgh's in Bishopsgate Street, London.
Not only an Oriental scholar, he was a mathematician,
with a notable library of books on mathematics and
In a hack work called "The Survey and Antiquity of
the Towns of Stamford . . . and Tottenham High Cross/'
he described the town of Tottenham as "compounded of
a quadrate and triangle, which kind of figure is of Euclid
and his scholars both Greeks and Latins called trape-
Still his odder writing is found in his Mahomet Un-
masked and his Arabian Trudgman. A trudgman, he said,
"signifieth an interpreter." But some of his interpreta-
tions may be questioned: thus he said of "sarrha, serra,
or as the Spaniards do pronounce it sierra, a desert place,
a wilderness. Sahara: the stony country, the sands; the
same almost that sarra is, that is a wilderness o desert, un-
tilled and uninhabited, by reason that it is nothing but
rocks and overspread with sand." Would any modern
scholar connect Sahara with sierra, which means a long
jagged mountain chain, from the Latin meaning "saw"?
Among the learned men of course were preachers as
well as scholars. Richard Clarke, a fellow of Christ's Col-
lege, Cambridge, and vicar on the island of Thanet, be-
yond the mouth of the Thames, was one of the six preach-
ers in Canterbury Cathedral. Also he preached in the
famous metropolitan Church of Christ, Canterbury. His
sermons show the shape of his thought and his popular
style: "There are two sorts of atheism, mental and vocal
... I pardon the mouth atheist. For he that shall openly
say, There is no God, will ipso facto be thought beside
himself. Or if he seem to have his wits, yet they that hear
him will abhor him; they will stop their ears against his
blasphemy, they will hiss at him, they will spit at him; his
impious assertion shall not stumble any one. But the heart
atheist that saith God is, but thinks it not, and lives ac-
cordingly, ungodlily, unrighteously, unsoberly . . . his
sin is greater than his hypocrisy."
The Westminster Hebrew group seems to have been
a truly balanced team. It glowed with Elizabethan fire that
ran through Andrewes, the linguist with a good temper;
Overall, the plugging workman; Saravia, who had solid
Leyden training; Layfield, of the simple style, who had
voyaged to America; Thomson the master of word roots;
Bedwell, versed in Eastern tongues; and Clarke, the zeal-
ous preacher. These, with the lesser men of the group,
could sit down in a stone room by the fire and discuss in
placid, capable fashion the books of the Bible they were
Nearly all these men at Westminster were from the
south of England, most of them holding livings in or near
London. They needed to be within a day's ride on horse-
back from their places to carry on this special work
But there the likeness ended, for all shades of opinion
were to be found among them. "Dutch" Thomson the
Arminian came naturally by his views, but Saravia the
high churchman had studied at Leyden and what did he
think of Jacobus Arminius? Strict Calvinists, of course,
liked even less the Arminian softening of the doctrine of
predestination, and at this time the conformists in the
English Church were perhaps less rabid than the Puritans,
Yet it is clear that while they worked together, at least,
these learned men with all their shades of doctrine bore
with each other. In the Westminster Hebrew group were
none who fought in the open. They could unite in their
desire to contrive a good and useful Bible and to confirm
themselves in the good will of the king and of Bancroft,
the strongest moving force in the Church. At the same
time they had their own inner urges toward rewards
better livings, honors, added money. How could they
afford to fight among themselves?
The Greek group at Westminster translated the Epis-
tles. Their head was William Barlow, Dean of Chester,
whose account of the Hampton Court parley is our main
source for what took place there. As Chester is a long way
from London, Barlow must often have stayed away from
his duties as dean.
William Barlow had studied at St. John's College,
Cambridge. He was a fellow at Trinity Hall in 1590,
and granted a degree of doctor of divinity in 1599. Mean-
while in 1597 he was rector of St. Dunstan's in the East
in London. Chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, he also
preached before the queen as one of her chaplains. She
praised his sermon on the plow, saying, "Barlow's text
might seem taken from the cart, but his talk might teach
all the court." At the 1601 convocation he preached a
famous "barley loaf" sermon that the Puritans misliked.
At Hampton Court he showed that he misliked the
An important event of his career before he began to
translate the Bible was his role at the execution of the
Earl of Essex, February 23, 1601. Three chaplains, of
whom Barlow was one, heard the condemned lord recite
the Creed on the scaffold. Essex, so tall, so youthful-looking,
so blond, clad in scarlet, lay down and after a moment
gave the sign for the end by thrusting out his scarlet arms.
The mighty axeman thrice raised the axe in a mighty
curve and thrice smashed it down. He was so frightened
that he first slashed the earl through the shoulder, then
through the head, and at last through the neck in a fashion
most grisly. Stooping, he lifted the bloody head, held it
high for all to see, and roared as was his final duty, "God
save the Queen!"
About kings and queens, Barlow was always sound.
Thus he wrote: "It is the prudence of a prince which
swayeth the scepter as the stern guides the ship." The
king's body, he said, is "sacred by holy unction/' Sacred
providence, he declared, "is to keep kings' persons and
their authority sacred; that is, free from touch of dis-
grace, or dismay of terror by any human power." King
James greatly approved of him.
Others in this New Testament group were John Spen-
ser, Roger Fenton, Ralph Hutchinson, Michael Rabbett,
Thomas Sanderson, and William Dakins.
John Spenser had many livings. Son of John, gent., he
was born in Suffolk in 1559. In 1577 he earned his B.A.
degree at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he re-
ceived his doctor of divinity degree in 1602. He was rector
of Aveley and Ardleigh, Essex, of Feversham, Kent, of
St. Sepulchre's, Newgate, and of Broxtourne, Hertford-
shire, all close enough to each other for relatively easy
travel. His wife was a sister of George Cranmer. Another
close friend of Richard Hooker, he wrote the foreword to
Hooker's most famous work, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.
Spenser's flowing style carried figures of speech to great
lengths. In his sermon at Paul's Cross, "God's Love to
His Vineyard," he elaborated on the comparison of the
Church to a vine rooted in Christ, warning the Church in
elaborate metaphors which ranged from horticulture to
climate, from fencing to irrigation.
Roger Fenton, one of the bright young men among
the Bible scholars, was born in Lancashire in 1565 and
became a fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. In 1601
he was rector of St. Stephen's Walbrook, and in 1603
rector of St. Benet's, Sherehog. Since in 1604 he was also
chaplain to Sir Thomas Edgerton, the Lord Chancellor,
he appears to have been favored by the elite of the state.
As has been observed, many of the translators had patrons
in high places.
Fenton's main printed work was A Treatise on Usury,
in which he described what he called "the usury of na-
ture, that most important and primitive increase which
the earth yieldeth in fruits unto man for his seed sown/'
With this man must not meddle. Usury in terms of in-
terest on loans was another matter; Fenton doubted its
virtue even for the benefit of widows and orphans. Yet,
though he deplored the multiplying coneys of this branch
of finance, Fenton became the "painful, pious, learned
and beloved' 1 rector of Chigwell, in Essex a living main-
tained by those who knew enough to invest wisely. In
other ways also the ravens came and the manna fell for
him, because he had friends among the lofty.
While the sermons of these worthies gather dust on
their shelves, the English Bible, for us the word of our
God, stands forever. How could such men as Barlow,
Spenser, and Fenton have risen to the literary heights
reached by the King James version? We may say in awe
and in the words which they so miraculously managed to
choose for St. Paul, "I am persuaded, that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor
things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The Oxford Q-roups
At Oxford the Hebrew group, which worked on the Major
and the Minor Prophets and on Lamentations, was headed
by Dr. John Harding, who had just risen to be regius
professor of Hebrew. With him were John Rainolds,
Thomas Holland, Richard Kilby, Miles Smith, Richard
Brett, William Thorne, and Daniel Fairclough. The
group had frequent meetings in Rainolds' quarters at
Corpus Christi College.
Americans often find it difficult to understand the col-
lege system of Oxford and Cambridge universities. In the
time of King James, and for long before, each college had
its own distinct philosophy and was not merely a place
for students to live but a unit in which each one with
his special leanings might feel fairly at ease. Colleges dif-
fered in way of life as well as thought. A head such as
Rainolds at Corpus Christi might set the tone, but per-
haps even more he expressed traditions long present, or
How the translators may have differed because of their
college ties is beyond present seeking, but what of Oxford
itself? Not long before, the university had nurtured Sir
Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh, and such notable
Elizabethan writers as John Lyly, Sir Henry Wotton,
Francis Beaumont, and John Donne. George Chapman
worked at Oxford on his Homer. At Christ Church Col-
lege, since 1599, young Robert Burton had been writing
his massive, magic Anatomy of Melancholy. How much
did Oxford's literary air inspire the translators?
One who may have been so inspired was Dr. Thomas
Holland, who was at once urbane and hidebound, a thor-
ough Calvinist, yet a prodigy in literature. Born in Shrop-
shire about 1538, Holland was one of the older translators.
He traveled abroad but took his degree at Exeter College,
of which he became master in 1592. Although he often
refused to act in accord with forms and rules, he opposed
any novel doctrines or ways of worship. In public he main-
tained in contrast with the views of Dr. Hadrian Saravia
and of Bishop Bancroft that bishops were no distinct
order from presbyters (elders or clergy of a second rank)
and not at all superior to them. But the bishops let him
alone, as just Dr. Holland and harmless a renowned old
codger whom all Oxford loved.
Of Holland it was said that he was "so familiarly ac-
quainted with the fathers as if himself had been one of
them, and so versed in the schoolmen as if he were the
seraphic doctor," and "so celebrated for his preaching,
reading, disputing, moderating, and all other excellent
qualifications that all who knew him commended him,
and all who heard of him admired him." Even while he
labored on the Bible he gave much time to fervent prayers
and meditations, with an ever-growing ardor for heaven.
His farewell to his fellows, when he went on any long
journey, was in Latin "I commend you to the love of
God, and to the hatred of popery and superstition."
Rainolds the Puritan, whom we already know as the
father of the new Bible, would have had little use for
Lyly or Beaumont or any Oxford dramatist. We have
seen how he repudiated his own youthful play acting. An-
other serious scholar with his mind on sermons was
Richard Kilby, who also sought to escape the errors of
his past. Kilby was born of humble parents at Ratcliffe
on the Wreake, in Leicestershire. He went to Lincoln
College, Oxford, where he became a fellow, then rector
in 1590, and a doctor of divinity in 1596. He repaired the
library there, making new shelving, and gave it many
of his own books. In 1601 he was a prebend of Westminster
In his sermon on "The Burden of a Loaden Con-
science," Kilby implied that he had liked to sin, and had
the common pride at having been a sinner, like a modern
reformed drunkard. Speaking of what he called his "repro-
bate heart, which being utterly hardened in sin, and void
of repentance, causeth me to heap wrath upon wrath and
vengeance upon vengeance to the increasing of mine over-
lasting torments in hell fire," he pleaded, "all manner of
people, young and old, take heed by me. Have no more
Gods but one."
For, he continued, "Consider well what He hath done
for you. He made you at the first like unto Himself, in
wisdom and holiness, and when you were by sin made
like the devil, and must therefore have been condemned
to hell torments, God sent His only son who taking unto
him a body and soul, was a man and suffered great wrong
and shameful death, to secure your pardon, and to buy
you out of the devil's bondage, that ye might be renewed
to the likeness of God ... to the end ye might be fit to
keep company with all saints in the joys of heaven." Today
Kilby would be preaching a revivalist gospel.
In the same sermon he quoted his own bedtime prayer,
in which he abased himself and at the same time seemed
confident that he would be all right: "O most mighty
and most gracious Lord God, I, wretched man, the worst
of the world, do cry Thy mercy for all my sins, which this
day or at any time have come out of my heart, by way of
word, deed or thought. I heartily thank Thee for all the
blessings which Thou has graciously and plentifully given
me. . . ." He ended with a blanket petition: "Be merci-
ful . . . unto all those for whom I ought to pray/*
Kilby also left us some verses, which you will find in no
volume of great Elizabethan poems:
With truth, repentance and right faith
Mine heart and soul fulfil,
That 1 may hate all wickedness,
And cleave fast to Thy will.
Yet there is some ground for thinking that Kilby was
among the more precise translators, a stickler for the right
word, the right phrase. His plain, direct prose style may
have served those Old Testament prophets who in English
needed something of his simple glow. We may think of
him as well-equipped to render the dirges in the Lamenta-
tions, with their occasional words to lift us out of despair.
"It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait
for the salvation of the Lord. . . . Thou drewest near in
the day that I called upon Thee; Thou saidst, Fear not."
Miles Smith of this Oxford group was perhaps the most
useful of all the learned men. In the end he went over the
whole Bible as an editor, taking the greatest pains from
first to last. He wrote the preface once printed in all King
James Bibles, which deserves more reading today and
ought to be bound into current editions. Yet Smith "was
never heard to speak of the work with any attribution to
himself more than the rest," and he wrote of his fellow
translators, "There were many chosen that were greater
in other men's eyes than in their own and that sought the
truth rather than their own praise."
Like John Rainolds, Smith was a Calvinist who con-
formed enough to meet the Church of England halfway.
We could hardly call him a Puritan. He made strong ob-
jection to sycophancy, but wrote in favor of churchmen's
acceptance of their lawful fees. After his own ascent to a
high place, he remained humble, and broke off a most
serious discourse to see a poor minister who wished to
speak with him, saying, "But he must not wait, lest we
should seem to take state upon us/'
Because he was the final critic who looked for flaws and
smoothed out the whole translation, there is perhaps more
of Dr. Miles Smith in the King James version than of any
other man. Some critics said that his own style was heavy,
involved, rough. Yet some of his writing showed a succinct
grace, and clearly he had a good editor's sense of united
effort when he wrote, in comment on Ephesians 5:18, "As
in the play of tossing the ball, it is not enough for one of
the players to be cunning in throwing of it, but the other
players also must take it ... handsomely, firmly, or else
the ball will go down." Smith took "handsomely and
firmly*' what the others wrote; for that at least his literary
skill sufficed. As one said of him, "He ... set forth the
new and exact translation. . . . He delivered the Scrip-
tures ... to Englishmen in English/'
At the head of the Greek group in Oxford was Thomas
Ravis, Dean of Christ Church. His colleagues were Richard
Edes, Dean of Worcester; Sir Henry Savile; John Perin;
Ralph Ravens; John Harmer; Giles Thomson; and George
Abbot, Dean of Winchester. Their portion was the Four
Gospels, the Acts, and the Apocalypse.
Of all the learned men only George Abbot reached the
summit of an English churchman's desires on earth. He
was also the only one of the translators who ever killed
Thomas Ravis was haughty and harsh; at the Hampton
Court meeting he spoke at some length against the Puri-
tans. Born in Old Maiden, Surrey, about 1560, he went to
the Westminster school. In 1575, sponsored by William
Cecil, Lord Burghley, he applied to Christ Church, Ox-
ford, a college founded by Cardinal Wolsey and famous
for its Gothic hall. There the dean and chapter declined
to admit young Ravis for lack of room, and only a strong
letter from Burghley got him in. Twenty years later he
became a doctor of divinity, and in 1596 dean of the
college. He was the first from the Westminster school
to become a dean, and "always continued both by his
counsel and countenance a most especial encourager of
the studies of all deserving scholars belonging to that
Meanwhile Ravis had preached in or near Oxford "with
great liking/' Rector at Merstham, in Surrey, and of All
Hallows Barking, he was in 1593 a prebend of West-
minster. Thus he was of the inner circles among church-
men, among the fastest to rise in the Church, and a sharp
foil to the Puritan Rainolds of the Hebrew group. As
chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, he had dealt sharply
with the Puritan leader Cartwright.
While Dean of Christ Church, Ravis had administra-
tive troubles when he compelled the members of the col-
lege to forego their "allowance of commons," that is, the
customary meals at the college tables, in exchange for two
shillings a week. Some who opposed the change he ex-
pelled, others he sent before the council, and others he
put in prison. "A grave and good man/' he was able at
getting work done and considered a model for lesser folk
to revere, but clearly not a man without choler. In retro-
spect we may think him an odd choice for chairman of the
group to work on the writing that contains the heart of
The most handsome of the translators was tall Sir Henry
Savile, who had a fair, clear, rosy complexion as fine as any
lady's. His portrait shows more round flesh than accords
with our notion of a handsome man. He was born in 1549
at Over Bradley near Halifax, Yorkshire, a younger son
without a square foot of land. After his studies at Brase-
nose College, Oxford, he traveled in 1578 through Europe,
where he gained a general acquaintance with the learned
men and through them obtained a number of rare Greek
manuscripts. For a time he was tutor to Queen Elizabeth
in Greek and mathematics. She liked him very much.
Then he was Dean of Carlisle and Provost of Eton. The
most learned Englishman in profane literature of Queen
Elizabeth's reign, Savile was thought by some to be "too
much inflated with his learning and riches/' As Warden
of Merton College he was a severe governor, oppressed his
young scholars grievously, and was duly hated by them.
In a different sphere, he was skillful with gardens and
cherished an orchard and a nursery of young plants.
Oddly, in view of his literary appreciation, Savile could
not abide wits. When a young scholar was recommended
to him as a good wit, he exclaimed, "Out upon him; I'll
have nothing to do with him; give me a plodding student.
If I would look for wits, I would go to Newgate; there be
the wits." If he preferred plodding to wit, he was wise
in his own eyes and wholly correct in church doctrines.
Like Saravia a friend of the serious Hooker, he translated
the history of Cornelius Tacitus, gave learned lectures
on Euclid, and edited the works of St. Chrysostom. About
the latter work there was to be a rather unseemly row
between two other Bible translators.
On September 21, 1604, Savile was knighted by King
James at an Eton College banquet. Under James knight-
hood was no great honor; he awarded honors in large
numbers, charging high fees in a sort of royal racket. A
rarer gift came from Savile himself; he presented an early
edition of the Gospels in Russian to the new Oxford
library named for Sir Thomas Bodley. Also he founded
two professorships, in mathematics and astronomy.
About Giles Thomson, Dean of Windsor, little is known
beyond the fact that he was a fellow student of Lancelot
Andrewes at the Merchant Tailors' school. Andrewes had
King James I of England and VI of Scotland, whose royal command
in support of the Puritan proposal for a new Bible translation per-
suaded the bishops of the Church of England to approve the project.
Doctor John Rainolds, Puri-
tan, spoke at Hampton Court
of the need for a new transla-
tion. Called the most learned
man in England, Rainolds
worked with the Oxford group
that translated the Old Tes-
tament, but he died before
the new Bible was completed.
Richard Bancroft, Bishop of
London, as a high churchman
opposed Rainolds' Puritan
proposals yet moved with en-
ergy for the new Bible when
the King approved. After the
death of John Whitgift, Ban-
croft was rewarded with the
Archbishopric of Canterbury.
George Abbot, among the
New Testament translators at
Oxford, followed Bancroft as
Bishop and became Arch-
bishop in time to oppose
the tyranny of Laud. His en-
graved portrait is from the
title page of his book, A Brief
Description of the Whole
World., as published in 1656.
Jbflwv &&Mffftfjrt'ljWW gwW^M
ni^mi &]&&)#* t#m TWSJ&
Lancelot Andrewes, Dean of
Westminster, chose many
other translators and led the
Westminster group translat-
ing from the Hebrew. An-
drewes had been a chaplain
to Elizabeth; he was a friend
of Bacon and Spenser, and
young John Milton wrote his
elegy, when, in 1626, he died.
Thomas Ravis, Dean of Christ
Church and later Warden of
New College, was IK: ad of the
New Testament translators at
Oxford. A high churchman,
Ravis opposed Puritan teach-
ings. He signed the document
that asked promotion for an-
other translator, Dean Thorne.
Sir Henry Savile, considered
the handsomest of the trans-
lators, had tutored Queen
Eli/abeth in Greek and math-
ematics. Provost of Eton, then
Warden of Merton, he worked
with the Greek group at Ox-
ford, where lie let lured on the
Greek philosophers and Euclid.
Thomas Bilson, Bishop of
Winchester, worked with the
Cambridge translators and
was one of the two final edi-
tors. His high church views
and zeal for the Establishment
balanced the Puritan leanings
of Miles Smith, who followed
him in the see of Winchester.
Doctor Miles Smith worked in
the Oxford group that trans-
lated the Old Testament from
the Hebrew. He also served
as final editor of the whole
translation and wrote the elo-
quent preface, "Address to
the Reader/' which was
part of the 1611 edition.
C.t>l)\)'i^ht; relmnlut'fd /;y [lermhtion oj the Con-
troller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.
The Thome Document, from the Public Record Office, London, proves
that William Thorne, Dean of Chichester, was among the translators.
In it others of the learned men petitioned for Thome's preferment.
a wide knowledge of the scholars throughout England
and good judgment in weighing their talents.
Passing over for the present those of this Oxford New
Testament group about whom we know little, we come
to George Abbot, the translator who in after years killed
a man. He was born October 29, 1562, at Guildford,
Surrey, some twenty miles from London, a son of Maurice
Abbot, a clothier, and his wife Alice March. Both were
staunch Protestants, good people, perhaps humdrum, but
with longings for something grander.
When Alice March was pregnant in 1562, she had a
portent of what was to come. She dreamed that if she could
catch and eat a jack or pike, her child would prove to be
a son, not a daughter, and would rise to the heights. Crafty
as she drew water from the river hard by, she entrapped a
young pike in her pitcher. By promptly cooking and eat-
ing the fish she fulfilled her dream; God must have given
the pike to her. The birth of the boy was a holy event, a
marvel to the good gossips of the town. Persons hearing
of Alice's success, that she had improved the omen, offered
to sponsor the boy and aided in his schooling. At sixteen
George entered Balliol College, Oxford.
In 1597 he was a doctor of divinity and Master of Uni-
versity College. Many attended his sermons at St. Mary's,
Oxford. Soon he was vice-chancellor of the university and
Dean of Winchester. A man of morose manners and a
sour aspect, he was prosy, pious, devout, a hard worker,
always ready to assert firmly what he believed, but narrow
of mind and full of rancor, in marked contrast to Lance-
lot Andrewes, who was his friend. Seeking to win the
Puritans by sometimes preaching Calvinistic or Augus-
tinian doctrines, he yet maintained the fixed order of the
Church and was dogged in upholding the rule of the
Abbot published in 1599 A Brief Description of the
Whole World. In this work he wrote: "In very many
parts of these northern countries of America there is very
fit and opportune fishing some pretty way within the sea,
... A huge space of earth hath not hitherto by any Chris-
tian to any purpose been discovered, but by those near
the sea coast it may be gathered that they all which do
there inhabit are men rude and uncivil, without the
knowledge of God. Yet on the northwest part of America
some of our English men going through the straits of
Magellan and passing to the north by Hispana Nova have
touched on a country where they have found good enter-
tainment, and the King thereof yielded himself to the
subjection of the Queen of England, whereupon they
termed it Nova Albion. . . . They are marvellously ad-
dicted to witchcraft and adoration of devils, from which
they could not be persuaded to abstain even in the very
presence of our countrymen/'
In 1599 there had been a flurry about witchcraft, more
in Scotland than in England. King James had published
his book, Demonology, in 1597, the year in which he
stopped the worst of the Scottish witch hunts, which had
been rampant since 1590. The clamor about witchcraft
had already lessened in England. Until comparatively
modern times witchcraft had been rife in all ages and in all
places; the Old Testament, as we know, has many refer-
ences to it. Abbot's mention of witchcraft in America indi-
cates that, like most people, he believed in its existence
and was against it. What seems to have stirred him about
it as practiced by savages in America was that they had
dared to go ahead with it in the presence of enlightened
There is nothing to be found in Abbot's book more
lively than the passage quoted. What he wrote was second-
hand, and his style was dull, though it sufficed for what
he had to say. One more sentence has contemporary in-
terest: "The manner of government which of late years
hath been used in Russia is very barbarous and little less
At University College in 1600 he gave "An Exposition
upon the Prophet Jonah/' one of "those lectures which
with great solemnity are kept both winter and summer on
the Thursday mornings early, where sometimes before
daylight the praises of God are sounded out in the great
congregation." In this he said: "They rowed to bring
the ship back unto the land. The word which is used
here ... in the Hebrew doth signify they did dig, either
because men do thrust into water with oars as in digging
they do with other instruments on the land ... or be-
cause as men in digging do turn this way and that way and
stir and move the ground, so they stirred up their wits
and beat their brains and thoughts to free him (Jonah)
from the danger. . . . God hath so coupled all creatures
to mankind, with a chain of strong dependence, that the
being of them is much suitable to the flourishing or fading
of the other/'
Did the Oxford groups, in faith and devotion, dig and
stir to free the Bible from obscurity? It may be hard for
us to discern in gruff Ravis, stern Savile, and dull Abbot
talents enough to convey to us all that we know of the
loving-kindness of Christ.
The Cambridge Qroups
At Cambridge the Hebrew group had as chairman Ed-
ward Lively, the father of thirteen children, whose weal
and woe we have discussed. The others were John Richard-
son, Laurence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Thomas
Harrison, Roger Andrewes, brother of Lancelot, Robert
Spalding, and Andrew Bing. This group dealt with the
books from I Chronicles through Ecclesiastes. To it, there-
fore, we are indebted for the Psalms.
Cambridge had given its degree to Christopher Mar-
lowe, the free-thinking dramatist said to have been a
"scorner of God's word/' to whom "Moses was but a
juggler/' Protestants "hypocritical asses." Men, he said,
most needed "not to be afraid of Bugbears/' Other famous
Cantabrigians of the era were Francis Bacon, Edmund
Spenser, Thomas Campion, John Fletcher, Robert Greene,
Thomas Lodge, and Thomas Nash, whom Cambridge ex-
pelled. Their lyrics fill the books of Elizabethan verse.
Campion's "Cherry Ripe" begins:
There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies blow.
Yet he could write also sacred verses still read today:
Never weather beaten sail more willing bent to shore,
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied spirit now longs to fly out of my
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest!
One of Thomas Lodge's famous lyrics begins:
Like to the clear in highest sphere
Where all imperial glory shines,
Of selfsame color is her hair,
Whether unfolded or in twines,
Heigh ho, fair Rosaline . . .
Heigh ho, would she were mine.
The love poems of the Song of Songs, which this Cam-
bridge group put into English, are far more lush and
The poetry of the Bible has no rhymes, but is what we
might call free verse, with balanced lines, mainly in
couplets. Thus in Psalm 23 Cambridge gave us:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Geneva Bible read:
Doubtless kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life,
And I shall remain a long season in the house of the Lord.
Compare likewise the King James Bible's,
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help,
with the Geneva Bible's,
I will lift mine eyes unto the mountains,
From whence my help shall come.
The Cambridge Hebrew group had a goodly knack
with English words and sounds.
One fact that stands out about John Richardson of
Cambridge is that he was fat. Those of another persuasion
called him a "fat bellied Arminian." As such he might
have fought with Laurence Chaderton, the Puritan, but
there is no record of conflict. These scholars bore and
forebore. Thin, acrid men alone could hardly have done
over the Bible to suit the fully fed.
John Richardson was born at Linton, seven miles from
Cambridge, about 1564. The place and the date attest
once more that these learned men were nearly all youngish
or of middle age, and came from the regions about Lon-
don, Oxford, and Cambridge. They were a cross sec-
tion, not of the English people or even of the English
clergy, but of the scholars who happened to be at hand
for the venture. Richardson went to Clare Hall, Cam-
bridge, where he must have known well Richard Thom-
son, "Dutch" Thomson, the other Arminian, with the
reputation for drink. In 1595 he became rector of Upwell,
Norfolk, and two years later was a doctor of divinity. A
foremost Hebraist, he was also a popular theologian. He
seems to have been one of those fat men whom most people
Francis Dillingham was born at Deane, Bedfordshire,
went to Christ's College, Cambridge, and was a good
linguist. Though he never married, he believed strongly
in marriage for other clerics, and wrote much on a sub-
ject then the theme of argument in the English Church.
In 1603 just before he started work on the Bible, he pub-
lished A Quartron of Reasons, Composed by Dr. Hill,
Unquartered, and Proved a Quartron of Follies. Dr. Hill
had railed against Protestant ministers "being so much
occupied about wooing, wenching, and wiving, taking
upon them to be doctors of divinity and husbands too."
Dillingham countered: "Papists teach that ministers may
not have wives. Is this catholic? Many hundred years after
Christ priests had wives."
Queen Elizabeth had allowed the clergy of the English
Church to marry. However fellows of the colleges, if they
married, still were required to resign. Dillingham felt
he had a message for those who fell into troublous thoughts
about marriage. So he published A Golden Key Opening
the Lock to Eternal Happiness. It is an earnest of the
guides to good thinking, to peace of mind, soul and body,
in our day. To be happy a man should simply keep his
wife subject unto him.
"It is a principle in nature," Dillingham wrote: "marry
with thy equals. By ... unequal marriages, how many
men have become subject to their wives? . . . May not
men nowadays see wives on horses, and husbands walking
as servants on the ground?" No Englishman with self-
respect should stand that.
"That a man may obtain a wife that will be in subjec-
tion unto him," he went on, "he must choose a prudent
and wise wife, for prudence and wisdom respecteth per-
sons, place, and manner of doing a thing. . . . Prudence
teacheth the wife that her husband is her head, and so
subjecteth her self unto him. No marvel then though many
men have not their wives in subjection, for they have
married fools which know not their place. ... A wise
woman, saith Solomon . . . buildeth the house, but the
foolish destroyeth it with her own hands/' The King
James version (Proverbs 14:1) says: "Every wise woman
buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with
Dillingham went on: "He that will have a wife in sub-
jection, let him match with a religious woman, for religion
teacheth her subjection. Be not unequally yoked, saith
St. Paul, II Corinthians 6:14, with infidels." (The King
James Bible says, "yoked together with unbelievers.") "A
man of religion," said Dillingham, "that matcheth with
an irreligious woman is unequally matched, and therefore
his yoke needs be heavy. A house divided cannot stand.
How should that house then stand where man and wife
are divided, one drawing this way, another that way? . . .
The misery of this age is that . . . men inquire after
wealth, not after religion in a woman. Hence it is that
some live discontentedly, and come in the end to great^
This was all sound advice from a young, wifeless man,
who knew nothing of our modern equal rights for women.
The viewpoint of Dillingham is often close to that of the
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes which he helped to translate.
What he himself published is wholly in accord with the
male nature of the Bible and with the thought of his own
age. Though Dillingham doubtless hoped his sermons
would change the ways of love, unwise, luckless men have
gone on wooing and wiving foolish females to this day.
Though he argued in print with high churchmen, it
would be wrong to think of Dillingham as a Puritan, for
he conformed strictly to the Church of England. He was
a typical Elizabethan except that he never indulged in
Thomas Harrison, who was indeed a Puritan, was born
in London in 1555, and went to the Merchant Tailors'
school, where he was second in learning only to Lancelot
Andrewes. A graduate of St. John's College, and Master
of Trinity College, Cambridge, he had exquisite skill in
Hebrew and Greek idiom. The renowned Dr. Whittaker,
for the excellence of his verses, called Harrison his poet.
Such a man would have been of much service in the work
on the Psalms. There was at least one poet among the
translators, though none of his poems have survived.
Andrew Bing was a tall, smiling young man. Born in
Cambridge in 1574, he went to Peterhouse, and then be-
came professor of Hebrew in Trinity College, Cambridge.
Later he was subdean of York for many years. Only thirty
when King James chose him to work on the Bible, he out-
lived nearly all his fellow workers.
The New Testament group at Cambridge, headed by
John Duport, included William Branthwaite, Jeremy Rad-
cliffe, Samuel Ward, Andrew Downes, John Bois, 1 and
a second man named Ward, Robert. It translated the
Apocrypha, and in the long run might have seemed in-
consequential, except that one o its members, John Bois,
was a man fully worth knowing, who played an important
part in the final revision of the entire Bible.
John Duport, son of Thomas Duport, Shepshed, Leices-
tershire, was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and
then master. He earned his doctorate in divinity in 1590,
and in 1595 became precentor of St. Paul's. His wife,
doubtless well subject to him if his colleague Dillingham
spoke for him, was Rachel, daughter of Richard Cox,
Bishop of Ely. By her he had two sons, one of whom was
also a noted scholar. Dr. Duport was a learned man of
high standing in England.
William Branthwaite took his B.A. at Clare Hall, Cam-
bridge, in 1582, and his D.D. at Emmanuel College in
1598. He was Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cam-
bridge. An extant letter from Branthwaite to Sir Thomas
Wilson, who had the ear of a lordly patron, begins with
concern for the health of the recipient. Branthwaite
wished that "my letters might bear bezoar or unicorn or
some other more sovereign cordial either to cure your
malady or to comfort against the fits and encounters
thereof/' Bezoar stone was a sort of charm against poisons,
and though there are none of these stones in the Bible,
they were, as Branthwaite shows, in the thought of the
age. The mythical unicorn is found in nine Bible verses.
Its horn, if one could have got it, would have been used
to cast out poisons; the practice of doctors in those days
was still largely magic.
"There be three physicians/* Branthwaite went on,
1 Often spelled Boys and evidently so Anglicized in pronunciation,
"which the state o your body (if I mistake not) requires
should always attend you and they are as good fellows and
friends as physicians . . . Dr. diet, quiet, and merry
man. . . . Under diet I also comprehend those other
things which the art and language of physicians express
thereby as change of air, moderate exercise, and propor-
tionable sleep, and the rest. For the first methinks it should
be very convenient for you both to refresh spirits and to
confirm and continue health, especially some little re-
move out of London now and then in the hot months of
July and August. . . . Many times it falleth out that a
strong mind endangereth a weak body." In this letter
Branthwaite was seeking an advance for himself and aid
for his college, in the best fawning manner of scholars
of the time.
Samuel Ward, son of John, of Durham, was a timid
young Puritan, early intent on putting down his own
sins. He was born in 1577, went to St. John's College, Cam-
bridge, and was fellow at Sidney Sussex College in 1599.
In 1603 he was town preacher at St. Mary's le Tower in
Ipswich. The next year he married Deborah Bolton, a
widow, of Isleham, Cambridgeshire. At college he kept
a diary, still extant, which reminds us a bit of the young
Boswell. Apparently he was the youngest of the translators.
On May 13, 1595, in his diary he condemned himself
for "My desire of preferment over much." Often he ad-
dressed himself in the second person. Thus that same day
he wrote, "Thy wandering regard in the chapel at prayer
time." May 17, "Thy gluttony the night before." May 23,
"My sleeping without remembering my last thought, which
should have been of God." May 26, "Thy dullness this
day in hearing God's word . . . thy sin of pride . . . thy
by-thoughts at prayer time same evening." June 14, "My
negligence ... in sleeping immediately after dinner . . .
in hearing another sermon sluggishly." June 12, "My too
much drinking after supper." June 22, "My immoderate
diet of eating cheese/* June 27, "My going to drink wine,
and that in the tavern, before I called upon God." July 8,
"My immoderate laughter in the hall/' July 15, "My in-
continent thoughts at Hobson's."
The next year young Ward wrote, July 19, 1596, "My
gluttony in eating plums and raisins and drinking so
much after supper/' July 23, 'Tor eating so many plums,
although thou heard that many died of surfeits." August
6, "My longing after damsons when I made my vow not
to eat in the orchard/' August 13, "My intemperate eating
of damsons, also my intemperate eating of cheese after
supper/' August 21, "My long sleeping in the morning."
As an eater of damson plums and cheese he may endear
himself to many of us, as well as for his sluggish hearing
of sermons. This young would-be divine was human and
loving, without any really mortal sins. Of him one said,
"He was a Moses not only for slowness of speech [he
stuttered] but otherwise meekness of nature."
At the time he began work on the Bible, he sadly told
himself in his diary: "Remember, on Wednesday January
i8th was the day when the surplice was first urged by the
archbishop to be brought into Emmanuel College. God
grant that worse things do not follow the so strict urging
of this indifferent ceremony. Alas, we little expected that
King James would have been the first permitter of it to be
brought into our college to make us a derision to so many
that bear us no good will." Doddridge said of Samuel
Ward, "His language is generally proper, elegant, and
nervous," with a mixture of fancy in his writings.
From him we get glimpses of the unsure status of many
of the clergy. They were often shaken men amid shaking
forces. The Bible task was solid, while the churches swayed
with fears as the winds of clashing doctrines swept around
The vigor and daring that young Samuel Ward lacked,
Andrew Downes possessed. He appears to have been the
only one of the learned men who got any money out of
King James. He was born about 1549, and went to gram-
mar school in Shrewsbury. At St. John's College, Cam-
bridge, Downes was distinguished for his Greek scholar-
ship. One who heard his lectures on Demosthenes said
that he was ushered into the presence of a tall, long-faced,
elderly person with ruddy complexion and bright eyes,
who sat with his legs on the table. Downes at once gave
his long, learned talk without stirring his feet or body. He
was one of the few who quarreled with his fellows. He was
sure of himself.
John Bois (or Boys) was in some ways the most vivid of
the translators. At any rate we have more about his private
life and his ways of doing than we have of others. His
grandfather, also John, was a clothier of Halifax, York-
shire. The son, William, father of our John, was born and
brought up there, studied music and surgery, went to
Cambridge, and thought of the Church until he broke
with Rome. Then he settled on a farm at Nettlestead near
Hadley; until, on joining the Church of England, he
became rector at West Stow. He married Mirabel Pooley.
John Bois the translator was born January 3, 1560. His
father taught him Hebrew when he was five years old.
Later, John walked four miles a day to school at Hadley,
where he knew John Overall, the future Dean of St.
Paul's, and likewise a translator. At length he went to St.
John's College, Cambridge, where Andrew Downes, the
chief lecturer in Greek, read to his students twelve of the
hardest Greek authors.
When Bois was chosen a fellow of Magdalen, he was
lying ill of smallpox. Because Downes was careful for the
new fellow's seniority, he had Bois carried on his sickbed,
wrapped in blankets, to be entered. Bois had meant to
study physic and had bought many books "in that faculty."
He went to the university library at four in the morning
and stayed until eight at night without any breaks. In
reading the books on physic, "He was conceited that what-
soever disease he read of, he was troubled with the same
himself. By which sickness of the brain it pleased God to
cure the church of the want of so good a member as he
afterwards proved/' For ten years Bois was chief Greek
lecturer in the college, reading his lecture in his chamber
at four in the morning to many fellows and others.
He succeeded his father as rector at West Stow in 1591,
but resigned that living when his mother went to live
with her brother Pooley. Up to this time John seems to
have been his mother's boy, married to his thoughts, but
romance was thrust upon him. A Mr. Holt, rector of Box-
worth near Cambridge, when about to die left the advow-
son, or right of presentation, to that living "in part of a
portion" to one of his daughters. He asked some of his
friends that, "if it might be by them procured/' Bois
"might become his successor by the marriage of his daugh-
ter/' Bois went to look her over and soon after, "they
taking liking each of the other," he received the living,
and was "instituted by my lord's grace of Canterbury,"
who was then Whitgift. The marriage often vexed his
spirit, but at thirty-six Bois was old enough to know his
Before he was married, "that he might be as well clear
of the suspicion as the fault of having a wife and a fellow-
ship at once, he desired three fellows of his own college
to publish the banns on matrimony on three Sundays in
his own parish church." The college, when he had to
resign as fellow, gave him a hundred pounds.
Though for some years he had a rupture, Bois was
robust. An early biographer described him as having an
"able, active body for walking, riding, and, in his youth,
for swimming." Often he walked out of his college in the
morning to dine with his mother in Suffolk twenty miles
away. While walking he took a book to read, if he fell into
company he liked not. On horseback he used by the way
to meditate on doubts, wherein he might, propounding
them, require satisfaction of his learned friends in Cam-
bridge. There is a legend, too, that he did some of the
Bible work on horseback. Amid all this study he found
time to beget four sons and two daughters.
When he began to know his neighbors in the country,
they met Friday afternoons to discuss and resolve their
scholarly doubts. As a husband and father, he kept some
young scholar in his house as well for the teaching of
his own children and the poorer sorts of the town people,
also "because many knights and gentlemen of quality
did importune him to take their children to board with
him and to take some care in their training, as well for
learning as manners." Thus Bois was the only translator
who took in boarders.
"But as by this means the scale of his living was sunk
daily lower by the greatness of the weight, so that of his
estate was by the emptiness become a very unequal counter-
poise. For he, minding nothing but his book, and his
wife, through want of age and experience, not being able
sufficiently to manage things aright, he was, ere he was
aware, fallen into debt. The weight whereof (though
it was not great) when he began to feel, he forthwith
parted with his darling (I mean his library) which he sold
(considering what it cost him) I believe to nigh as much
loss as his debt amounted to, for the discharge whereof
he sold it/'
Never able to keep his wife subject to him, as Francis
Dillingham had advised, perhaps he thought often of
Paul's letter to Timothy: "Let the woman learn in silence
with all subjection." Paul also declared that if a woman
will learn anything, let her ask her husband at home.
Clearly Mrs. Bois was a thorn in her husband's flesh.
"There grew some discontent betwixt him and his wife,
insomuch that I have heard (but never from himself)
that he did once intend to travel beyond the seas. But
religion and conscience soon gave those thoughts the
check, and made it be with him and his wife as chlrurgeons
say it's with a broken bone: if once well set, the stronger
for a fracture." So after this strain or fracture he went on
letting his wife handle the money as before.
A most exact grammarian, Bois had read sixty gram-
mars. He had only two meals, dinner and supper, betwixt
which he never so much as drank, unless, upon trouble
with wind, some small quantity of acqua vitae (brandy?)
and sugar. After meat he was careful almost to curiosity
in picking and rubbing his teeth, esteeming that a special
preservative to health, by which means he carried to his
grave almost a Hebrew alphabet of teeth. Then he used
to sit or walk an hour or more to digest his meat before
he would go to his study. He fasted sometimes twice a
week, or once in three weeks. Later he never studied be-
tween supper and bed, but spent two hours at least with
friends, hearing and telling harmless delightful stories
whereof he was exceedingly full. He studied standing,
except when he eased himself upon his knees; but he
never studied in the draft from a window, and never
went to bed with cold feet.
Respectful of superiors, he was loving of equals, familiar
with inferiors, though humility made him think not many
below himself. He gave and forgave, being hospitable to
strangers, real to friends, a just keeper of his promises.
Prudently he refrained from meddling in other men's
matters. A most careful, affectionate father, if displeased
he denied the children his blessing morning and evening
when they requested it, sometimes on two days for reasons
best known to himself. As a most loving husband he had
suffered, but he still committed the whole government of
the house to his wife, never encroaching upon the woman's
part in economic discipline.
In his piety he always knelt with his family on bare
bricks. Often he prayed while he was walking, for he
approved of frequent, rather long prayers. A most dili-
gent, attentive hearer of sermons, he endeavored when
he preached to be rightly understood even of his meanest
There we have a sketch of a devout Bible-maker, with
his virtues and his crotchets, his wind and his firmness,
his liking for details, and his reserves of strength. Through
all his household straits, about his wife, about money,
about all sorts of junctures, he prepared himself to for-
ward the Bible in English, for the Bible takes up those
troubles and affords comfort to the distraught. These
learned men were more than aloof, cloistered saints.
Though versed in tongues, they were also just folks.
The six groups formed a kind of loose congress or
council, meeting in the three places, Westminster, Oxford,
and Cambridge. All were staunchly against the papists,
but being all against something is not enough to unite
people; they must unite in being for something real to
them. These learned men were for a fresh Bible, and as
scholars they were also for Hebrew, Greek, and English,
for a working union of tongues. Sometimes jealous of each
other, in the manner of scholars at all times, they kept
their conflicts subject to their basic aims, which were
broadly at one. And though they brought to the project
varied points of view, they ultimately had to choose.
Starting the Work
The translators went to work with zeal and forethought,
here slowly and there fast. Edward Lively at Cambridge
was an organizer and planner on whom all the Hebrew
group there, and others too, could depend. Lancelot
Andrewes, Dean of Westminster, was ardent and busy.
These two were foremost among the directors.
John Overall, the prosy Dean of St. Paul's who had a
wife on whom he must keep an eye; Hadrian Saravia,
the most strict of the high churchmen; Laurence Chader-
ton, the grave Puritan, and John Rainolds, the Puritan
father of the King James Bible; William Barlow, Dean
of Chester, who wrote of the Hampton Court meeting,
and Miles Smith who saw the work through from first to
last; John Layfield who had been to the New World;
Richard Thomson the Arminian who drank his fill daily;
Francis Dillingham who knew what a wife should be
though he never had one; stern Thomas Ravis the Dean
of Christ Church; handsome plump Sir Henry Savile
whom his students disliked; George Abbot the dull plodder
who rose beyond all the others because his mother caught
and ate a pike, and Samuel Ward the Puritan sinner with
remorse of conscience; Andrew Downes who was forth-
right and full of vigor but jealous; and John Bois the man
of all work who has shown us how they all conferred
these were among the translators who stood out.
Yet we must suspect that many of the rest, about whom
we know too little, may have given much to the King
James version as it stands. They were weavers of a tough,
pliant fabric, full of figures, conceits, and subtle shadings,
which had to withstand the wear and tear of ages. Each
insight counted. The abstract and the concrete had to
blend in the one immense design.
When the three groups met at their respective centers,
they had a set of guiding principles which Bishop Ban-
croft, with advice from others, had prepared or at least
approved. We must credit the valiant, ambitious Bancroft
with being able to choose and manage firmly. All looked
up to him, even those who deplored him and winced at
his methods. He doubtless consulted a good deal with
Dr. Andrewes, described as sweet and smiling, who was
directly under him to handle details.
The rules which the powers of Church and state com-
posed were as follows:
i. The ordinary Bible read in church, commonly called the
Bishops' Bible, to be followed and as little altered as the
truth, of the original will permit.
s>. The names of the prophets and the holy writers with the
other names of the text to be retained as nigh as may be,
accordingly as they were vulgarly used.
3. The old ecclesiastical words to be kept, viz. the word
"church" not to be translated "congregation." (The Greek
word can be translated either way.)
4. When a word hath divers significations, that to be kept
which hath been most commonly used by most of the an^
5. The division of the chapters to be altered either not at all
or as little as may be.
6. No marginal notes at all to be affixed, but only for the ex-
planation of the Hebrew or Greek words, which cannot
without some circumlocution be so briefly and fitly ex-
pressed in the text.
7. Such quotations of places to be marginally set down as
shall serve for the fit reference of one scripture to another.
8. Every particular man of each company to take the same
chapter or chapters, and having translated or amended
them severally by himself, where he thinketh good, all to
meet together to confer when they have done, and agree
for their parts what shall stand.
9. As any one company hath dispatched any one book in this
manner they shall send it to the rest, to be considered of
seriously and judiciously, for His Majesty is very careful in
10. If any company upon the review of the book so sent doubt
or differ upon any place, to send them word thereof with
the place, and withal send the reasons; to which if they
consent not, the difference to be compounded at the gen-
eral meeting which is to be of the chief persons of each
company at the end of the work. (Thus in the end they
all had to agree enough to let all readings pass.)
11. When any place of special obscurity be doubted of, letters
to be directed by authority to send to any learned man in
the land for his judgment of such a place.
12. Letters to be sent from every bishop to the rest of his clergy,
admonishing them of his translation in hand, and to move
and charge as many as being skillful in the tongues and
having taken pains in that way, to send his particular
observations to the company, either at Westminster, Cam-
bridge, or Oxford. (This indicates that many must have
aided in the work.)
13. The directors of each company to be the deans of West-
minster and Chester for that place, and the King's profes-
sors in the Hebrew or Greek in either university.
14. These translations to be used when they agree better with
the text than the Bishops' Bible Tyndale's, Matthew's,
Coverdale's, Whitchurch's (Great Bible), Geneva,
15. Besides the said directors before mentioned, three or four
of the most ancient and grave divines in either of the uni-
versities, not employed in translating, to be assigned by the
vice-chancellor, upon conference with the rest of the heads,
to be overseers of the translation, as well Hebrew as Greek,
for the better observation of the fourth rule above specified.
Some historians have said that nothing came o the
plan for overseers. But a letter, dated April 19, 1605, from
Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, to Sir Thomas
Lake, secretary to the king, refers to Dr. George Ryves,
"warden of New College in Oxford and one of the over-
seers of that part of the New Testament that is being
translated out of Greek." The king had said, as we have
seen, that any vacant living worth more than twenty
pounds a year should be reserved for a translator. Bishop
Bilson, himself one of those who reviewed the translators'
work and made final revisions, asked the king to permit
Ryves and Nicholas Love, schoolmaster of Winchester,
to exchange some livings within Bilson's gift, "So that they
may lay more together." This implies that both Ryves
and Love, though not of the translators, had a clearly
defined assignment. "The men/' Bilson said, "are both
of good report, the one employed in the oversight of the
translation, and the other takes no small pains in doing
his duty." George Ryves, born in 1569, was a son of John
Ryves of Damory Court, near Blandford, Dorset, and
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Merwyn of Fonthill,
Wiltshire. He had been Warden, or head, of New College
since 1599. In his mid-thirties, he was hardly one of the
"most ancient" divines, though ancient had a wide mean-
ing. Perhaps his work on the Bible was partly going from
one learned man to another, to keep them informed of
the work of their associates and to prod them.
Other writers have stressed that the work was slow in
starting. On this point there is a letter of Lancelot
Andrewes, dated the last of November, 1604, to a Mr.
Hartwell: "But that this afternoon is our translation time,
and most of our company are negligent, I would have
seen you; but no translation shall hinder me, if once I
may understand I shall commit no error in coming." Thus
we see that the work at Westminster began promptly,
though some of the Hebrew group there were unprepared
or had stayed away when they should have met and dis-
Understandable delay, as in many literary under-
takings, must have occurred when other duties intervened
because, as we have seen, translation was a part-time job
without regular pay. Yet aside from providing them with
fixed fees or salaries, the king was as good as his word in
aiding the select divines. To Edward Lively, the royal
"Hebrew reader at Cambridge/* who, having lost his
wife, had eleven children left out of thirteen, he gave,
September 10, 1604, the living at Purleigh, Essex, a few
miles from Cambridge. A month later he urged that
Thomas Ravis, Dean of Christ Church, be Bishop of
Gloucester. In 1605 there was a decree of the chapter at
York to keep a residentiary^ place for Andrew Bing. He
was subdean of York for forty-six years.
William Barlow, Dean of Chester, in 1605 also, rose a
little to be Bishop of Rochester. As Rochester was the
least, the poorest, of the dioceses, he chose for his seal,
with forlorn, brave meekness, a Latin motto which meant
"set down in the lowest room/' That year too the good
Lancelot Andrewes, who had refused Queen Elizabeth's
offer to make him a bishop, became Bishop of Chichester,
southwest of London. Later Andrewes became the king's
almoner, and received a grant to retain his place as prebend
of St. Paul's and all his emoluments until October 2,
1607, on account of the poverty of his Chichester bishopric.
Thus did the king reward his preferred translator.
On July 12, 1605, Bancroft made Jeffrey King vicar of
Horsham, Sussex. The Earl of Exeter on August 19
wrote to Salisbury (Cecil) asking that his chaplain, Dr.
John Layfield, who had some years since returned from
his voyage of romance to the West Indies, be made parson
There were other cases in which, after appeals and
wangling by the mighty and lesser folk, learned men rose
a bit in the complex, sacred scales of the Church and re-
ceived rewards for added duties, without direct grants
from the king. Yet the extra appointment entailed ad-
ditional duties which had nothing to do with the work of
translation. On November i, 1606, Sir Henry Savile, the
plump translator who was the unpopular Master of
Merton College, wrote to Sir Thomas Lake a plaintive
letter which showed how many other matters a translator
might have to keep in mind. "I have sent the bearer my
man," he wrote, "to understand whether you have moved
His Majesty for some timber trees for his poor and ancient
college of Merton, Oxford. The work will be great and
cost 3000; 300 trees will not furnish us ... but I dare
not present a petitioner for more than 100 which I hope
will not be denied.'*
Besides the interruption of outside labors, the learned
men had also, almost from the beginning, the interruption
of death. Dr. Richard Edes, Dean of Worcester, died
November 19, 1604, perhaps before he could do any work
on the Bible, though he may have left some notes of use
to his colleagues.
Then to the dismay of all concerned, Edward Lively,
one of the chairmen to whom the divines and scholars
were to send their advice, took sick with "an ague and a
squinsey," died in four days, and was buried at St. Ed-
ward's, Cambridge, May 7, 1605, only seven months after
he had received the good living at Purleigh, Essex. It was
said that "too earnest study and pains about the trans-
lation hastened his death/' Though he left eleven orphans
without means of support, they survived and did well,
and there are descendants of Edward Lively in the United
States today. There is a statement that his death delayed
the others who had begun to amend the Scriptures, yet
they took the loss in their stride and went forward.
Early in the year 1606 died Ralph Hutchinson, the
Westminster translator, aged about fifty-seven. He left
a few notes about phrases In the New Testament. John
Bois used these, which still exist in copy. They show how
early the most painful re-examination of the Bible text
began, and how the final product came from joint efforts.
Others replaced those who died, but who replaced
whom? The accounts are clouded and conflicting. One
replacement was Dr. John Aglionby, born about 1566,
fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, a chaplain to Queen
Elizabeth, principal in 1601 of Edmund Hall, Oxford,
and a chaplain to King James as soon as he came to the
throne. Punning on his name, they compared him to an
eagle "He was of an aquiline acumen." Then there was
Leonard Hutton, who was born about 1557, received his
early training at the Westminster school, was a student at
St. John's College, Oxford, and was vicar of Floore, Nor-
thamptonshire, in 1601. In 1592 for Queen Elizabeth's
visit to Oxford he wrote a play in Latin about a war of
grammar between two rival kings, verb and noun. His
Latin verses are to be found today at Oxford. He became
subdean of Christ Church, and after Robert Burton settled
there, the two must have known each other well. In 1600
Hutton engaged in a solemn disputation, worthy of Bur-
ton, about whether in the rebirth concupiscence is a sin.
He married Anne Harnden, and had a daughter, Alice.
So far we have met forty-seven translators out of the
king's original fifty-four, all that are named on the chief
lists that have come down to us. To these should be added
the name of William Thome, for whom there is ample
In 1606 fourteen bishops, among them Bilson of Win-
chester and Ravis of Gloucester, both translators, signed
with many a flourish a formal plea: "At the request of
Doctor Thorne, his majesty's chaplain, we whose names
are hereunto subscribed have thought it equal and just to
make known unto all, whom it appertaineth, that he hath
for many years read the public Hebrew lecture with very
good recommendation in the University of Oxford, that
he is now likewise very necessarily employed in the trans-
lation of that part of the Old Testament which is remitted
to that university, that he doth govern in the church of
Chichester where he is dean with judgment and discretion,
and that in the one and the other place he hath ever been
and now is of very good and honest reputation. In regard
whereof our opinion and hope is that he will approve
himself worthy of further promotion in the church/'
Despite the lofty commendation, Thorne failed to be
preferred much more, but he earned the name of trans-
Additional names of which mention may be found be-
sides those of Leonard Hutton, John Aglionby, and
Thomas Bilson, already referred to, were Daniel Featley,
born Fairclough, Arthur Lake, James Montague, who
became Bishop of Bath and Wells, Thomas Sparke who
had been at Hampton Court but is mentioned as a trans-
lator only in a life of King James on which one can hardly
depend, and William Eyre. Some authorities say that
Daniel Featley was too young to share in the work; others
that he had something to do with it, and he is on the
British Museum list of translators. Perhaps many of these
names are false leads. Proof, one way or the other, is most
difficult. The surmise that many aided in the translation
unofficially, seems justified. Many must have offered advice
on verses, helped solve hard problems, and queried read-
ings on which the chosen learned men agreed. Hugh
Broughton, the rabid Puritan, was angry at being left
out, but his friends among the translators may have
consulted him and used some of his phrasings.
The lives of the learned men were quiet, except for
their many mundane duties. Years later John Selden
wrote in his Table Talk, "The translation in King James'
time took an excellent way. That part of the Bible was
given to him who was most excellent in such a tongue
(as the Apocrypha to Andrew Downes) and then they met
together, and one read that translation, the rest holding
in their hands some Bible, either of the learned tongues,
or French, Italian, Spanish &c. If they found any fault,
they spoke; if not, he read on." Andrew Downes dealt
with many other books than those of the Apocrypha, for
he was learned in the Greek of the New Testament too.
What ancient-language texts did they work with? They
had the Complutensian Polyglot of 1517, published at
Complutus, now Alcara de Henares, Spain, and they had
the Antwerp Polyglot, 1569-72. These gave Hebrew and
Greek texts with versions in other tongues added. Of
course they had the Latin Vulgate, though that was suspect
because it was popish. With some fragments of early
scrolls, they had countless comments by the early church
fathers and ancient scholars. Often they referred to St.
Chrysostom (347-407 A.D.), whose works Sir Henry Savile
had begun to edit, with help from Andrew Downes and
John Bois. Another reference authority was the Geneva
scholar, Theodore Beza (1519-1605).
Since the time of King James other Bible manuscripts
and fragments have come to light, though none, save
perhaps the Isaiah of the Dead Sea Scrolls, goes back to
early Christian days, let alone to its original writer. The
various manuscripts and fragments contain thousands of
variant readings, throughout. What the King James men
had, and what we have today in greater variety, consists
of copies derived from former copies and so on back-
ward. The text as it stands in any scholarly edition must,
by the very nature of the problem, be in many respects
corrupt. We can only trust that what we have is a rea-
sonably accurate text of the sixty-six books, which through
the ages the churches came to accept as the Holy Scrip-
tures. It should be obvious, therefore, that no English
rendition is, or can be from any literary standpoint, the
precise word of God.
While the scholars were busy with the Bible, their royal
patron was pursuing his usual interests. Twice a week at
Whitehall there were cockfights, and in November of
1604 the king was much at Royston.
Royal visits were an expense hard to be borne by the
countryside so honored. One day a favorite among the
king's hounds, Howler, was missing. The next day in the
field Howler came in among the rest of the hounds. The
king, glad of his return, spied a paper about his neck:
"Good Mr. Howler, we pray you speak to the King (for he
hears you every day and so doth he not us) that it will
please His Majesty to go back to London, for else the coun-
try will be undone; all our provision is spent already, and
we are not able to entertain him longer." Unperturbed by
this plain speaking from the local farmers who had to sup-
ply his retinue, King James stayed on for a fortnight.
On December 4 the Earl of Worcester wrote from
Royston, "In the morning we are on horseback by eight,
and so continue in full career from the death of one hare
to another until four at night . . . five miles from home."
All this was while Bancroft was taking office as Arch-
bishop, and Lancelot Andrewes was faithfully setting
aside his days for "translation time."
At the Christmas season, 1604, Sir Philip Herbert
married Lady Susan Vere in the king's presence. The
bride and groom lodged in the council chamber at White-
hall, where the king in shirt and nightgown conducted
a reveille matin before they were up, even lolling on the
bed. In such coarse doings James behaved as if the Bible
had no effect on him. Yet he continued to show interest
in the new translation and in time gave preferment to
the translators one by one.
The day before Twelfth Night, James made young
Prince Charles Duke of York. For Twelfth Night there
was Ben Jonson's Masque of Blackness. The queen was
six months pregnant, but again she and her ladies, this
time with blackened faces and arms, appeared in the
play with their hair down and wore rich gauzy draperies
which shocked the guests. Courtiers in the masque were
dressed as Moors, riding sea horses and other frightful
fishes. At the banquet, guests so wildly assailed the king's
provisions that tables and trestles went down before any
could touch the food, and jewels and gold chains were lost
in the scramble. The king joined in the gaming after-
Such royal routs cost thousands of pounds. The learned
men who revised the Scriptures were, meanwhile, getting
nothing except their rooms and commons while they were
away from home. Weekly they returned on horseback or
afoot to their churches where they had to conduct many
a service. At the New Year those of them who were bishops
sent the king from ten to thirty pounds in gold.
On February 8 there was a play, The Fair Maid of
Bristol, at Whitehall. Two weeks later the king went to
Newmarket, which was starting its long sporting career
in horse racing.
For the queen's lying-in there was much clamor about
who should carry the white staff, hold the back of the
chair, keep the door, rock the cradle, and such services,
all more or less fixed by custom. The birth of the princess
was on April 8. She lived only a little over two years.
Continuing their royal revels, on June 3 the king and
his party went again to the Lion's Tower. There they
watched live cocks thrown to male and female lions and
torn to pieces. But when the keeper lowered a live lamb
into the cage, the lions merely sniffed at it and let it
alone. Alas, the lions had no real chance to lie down
with the lamb, for at this point the keepers lifted it out
Presumably the work of translation continued peace-
ably amid the court activities in sports, gaming, and
amateur theatricals, but during the next year one royal
pastime inevitably disturbed the translators. This was the
visit of King James to Oxford, August 27, 1605. Corpus
Christi College has preserved the charge to heads of houses
over a month before this royal progress:
1. All doctors and graduates, scholars, fellows and proba-
tioners to provide before the first day of August next gowns,
hood, and cape according to the statutes of their houses
and orders of the university, and that all commoners and
halliers do wear round caps, and colors and fashions in
their apparel as the statutes do provide.
2. That whosoever shall be seen by the vice chancellor or pro-
tectors or other overseers appointed by the delegates in the
street or any public place, during the King's Majesty's
abode, otherwise apparelled than the statutes of their
houses or the university appoint for their degree, shall
presently forfeit ten pounds and suffer imprisonment at
the discretion of the said officers, the said forfeit to be levied
by the vice chancellor or whom he shall appoint.
3. That upon the day when the King cometh, all graduates
shall be ready at the ringing of St. Maries bell to come in
their habits and hoods according to their degrees, and all
scholars in their gowns and caps shall stand quietly in such
order as shall be appointed, until his majesty be passed into
Christ Church, and the train being passed, every one may
report to his own college.
4. That all scholars, bachelors, and masters do diligently fre-
quent the ordinary lectures during the time of his majesty's
5. That no scholar of what degree soever presume to come
upon the state in St. Maries, upon pain of one month's im-
prisonment and forty pounds fine, and that no master of
arts presume to come within the compass of the rail or stage
below, where the disputers sit, but with his hood turned
according to his degree, and none but masters of arts and
bachelors of law shall presume to come into that place.
6. That the scholars which cannot be admitted to see the plays
do not make any outcries or undecent noise about the hall,
stairs, or within the quadrangle of Christ Church, upon
pain of present imprisonment and any other punishment
according to the direction of the vice chancellor and proc-
7. That they warn their companies to provide verses to be dis-
posed and set upon St. Maries, or to other places conven-
ient, and that those verses be corrected by the deans or
some others appointed by the head.
8. That a short oration be provided at every house to enter-
tain his majesty if his pleasure be to visit the same, and
verses set up.
9. That University College, All Souls, and Magdalen College
do set up verses at his majesty's departure, upon such places
so as they may be seen as he passeth by.
10. That the fellows and scholars of the body of each house be
called home and not permitted to go abroad till after his
majesty be gone from the university, and that they may be
at home by the first of August.
The vice-chancellor in charge of all this was Dr. George
Abbot, the translator for whom the future promised so
much. As acting head of Oxford he was to collect the fines,
see that there was a full turnout in fancy dress, and make
sure that no wicked students most of them teen-aged,
like college boys today spoiled the solemn display. He
had a month to prepare, and many o the Oxford trans-
lators who would otherwise have used the summer months
for study of the Bible texts must have had to help him.
For the king's visit Oxford paved streets and swept them
well. It newly painted all rails, posts, bars o windows,
casements, and pumps, and newly tricked all arms. On
August 27 the king came riding horseback, with the
queen on his left hand, Prince Henry before them. Be-
cause they had come by easy stages, stopping nights at
great houses, they were fresh enough to look regal. The
vice-chancellor, George Abbot, translator, made his speech
on his knee with good grace and a clear voice.
The party went on to St, John's College. At Carfax
Dr. John Perin, Greek reader and a translator, made his
oration "in good familiar Greek." The king heard him
willingly and the queen gladly, because she said she had
never heard Greek. Dry as such a program may seem to
us today, to the scholars, and even to the royal group,
such speeches were alive and of intense concern, partly
because they all looked with respect on heaven and hell.
Who was good enough to regard the future with peace of
The party progressed to Christ Church, and on the
second day, August 28, from ten in the morning until one
they watched a tiresome light play. But the sermons,
lectures, disputes, and speeches of the translators and
the rest went on and on in accord with the schedule.
The Latin verses by the students, gone over by the deans,
were all up in place. Here and there the gracious king,
twiddling his fingers as was his wont, gave a few words of
praise, often in Latin. Vice-chancellor Abbot sent Dr.
Aglionby around with the king, whose alert vigor amazed
all. There is no suggestion that he drank too much. This
was a fair of learning on a high plane, with even the youth-
ful scholars less noisy and rowdy than was their habit,
and the doctors of divinity arrayed in scarlet gowns, faced
down to the feet with velvet, in the hot August weather.
That summer appeared the first catalogue of the new
Oxford library to which the year before King James had,
by patent, given the name of Its founder, Sir Thomas
Bodley. It listed among the thousands o books in its
655 P a ges, Biblia Latina pulcherrima, two volumes, a
present from Dr. George Ryves, Warden of New College
and an overseer of the translation, and other books that
were gifts from the King James learned men. Today
the Bodleian has hundreds of papers, as well as books,
by and about the translators.
Though his life belied it, King James seemed sincere
enough in posing as a lover of books. When he received
his degree at Oxford, he went into the Bodleian, where
chains bound all the books to the shelves. Looking around
with a longing mien, he said, "I would wish, if ever it be
my lot to be carried captive, to be shut up in this prison,
to be bound with these chains, and to spend my life with
these fellow captives which stand here chained." James
truly admired the Bodleian.
Today it may be asked whether the learned men of
Oxford admired the king. Now he was the guest of some
who had been his guests at Hampton Court; Dr. John
Rainolds was one, on a program of sermons and lectures
in Latin and English. Although Rainolds' lecture 1 has
not been preserved, it seems safe to assume that he was
more polite to his king than James, at the conference, had
been to him.
In fact Rainolds the Puritan was finding it possible to
conform to some of the most difficult of the church claims.
In a letter dated June 3, 1605, two months before the king's
visit, he maintained that the bishops and clergy since
Henry VIII's split with the Roman Church had been
rightly ordained, and even in some cases confirmed by
the Pope. Many chief doctors of the Roman Church had
taught, he said, "Out of St. Augustine, grounding on the
X A "sermon*' was delivered within the church service; a "lecture" out-
side it, even though in the church building. New England later kept up
the custom of lecture day in the meeting house.
Scripture that heretical bishops may lawfully ordain."
Therefore in this letter, still among the Corpus Christi
papers, Rainolds joined Bancroft and the king in arguing
that the Church of England had wholly correct descent
from St. Peter, and its clergy were in the direct, sacred
line from the first Christian bishops.
Rainolds made no mention at this time of the divine
right of kings, but years before, in another letter, he had
written about divinity. "Sith that divinity, the knowledge
of God, is the water of life, the vessel must be cleansed
that shall have God's holy spirit not only a guest but
also a continual dweller within. God forbid that you should
think divinity consists of words, as a wood doth of trees.
Divinity without godliness doth but condemn consciences
against the day of vengeance, and provide the wrath of
the mighty Lord, and make more inexcusable before the
seat of judgment. . . . True divinity cannot be learned
unless we frame our hearts and minds wholly to it." He
had then urged study of the word of God in the Hebrew
and Greek, "not out of the books of translation/' and
had approved strongly of painful travail in Calvin's works.
Now, still for Calvin, he was also for the translation that
was James's best claim to divine guidance.
And indeed the Bible men were for the king, the master
of their task. Though the King James version as it came
from their hands and minds contained much against
kings, preachers could and did conclude that it stood
for divine right of the crown. Among the translators,
Lancelot Andrewes, whom the king heard preach and
greatly approved, said: "The duties of a king are first
to acknowledge his power to be from God. . . . Another
duty of the people is to bear with the infirmities of this
mild king, and to be as meek toward him in covering his
uncomeliness, if any be." Was James thus mild and meek?
Or was Andrewes just holding up before him a standard?
In another sermon the gentle Andrewes uttered what
we may now see as a warning, though surely it was not
so meant or understood. Of kings he said: "If religion
make them not, heresy will not unmake them/ 7 Yes the
struggles of James and the House of Commons over taxes
and other matters going on around the learned men as
they worked, could only confirm their religious con-
victions and make them the more eager to finish their
special task. Let other writers as for instance Pericles
in Shakespeare raise political issues:
Kings are earth's gods; in vice their law's their will,
And if Jove stray, who dares say, Jove doth ill?
A touchy king might well dislike such questions, and
for the progress of the Bible work it was little enough to
assure a royal patron of his virtue and safety. In the long
run a bright, pure Bible could help all men to stand
equal before the mercy seat of heaven.
Another rebel in attendance during the royal visit was
Dr. Thomas Holland, the translator who had conformed
in outward things though he remained inwardly against
the bishops. As a feature of the royal entertainment, Dr.
Holland took part in an argument on the theological
question, Do the saints and angels know the thoughts of
the heart? Though an appropriate choice for men of many
minds, all on their good behavior, the virtue of the
question was that no one could answer it. It was there-
fore a perfect subject for a heated debate, a drill in what
passed for logic, in the manner of the schoolmen of the
Middle Ages. According to custom, Dr. John Aglionby, a
translator, upheld one side and three other translators
Drs. Holland, Giles Thomson, and John Harding argued
in opposition. The moderator was to be Thomas Bilson,
Bishop of Winchester, another translator, if he could
come; if not, then the vice-chancellor George Abbot,
a translator too would take his place.
Although some may have enjoyed their roles in the
celebration, for Dr. Rainolds, prime mover in a more Im-
portant project, the days of the royal visit must have been
an ordeal. He had long been less than robust. Coughing
more than he liked, he suffered from what he and the
doctors thought was gout. Rainolds aroused himself to
lecture before the king, being present at all the stodgy
pomps, wearing the heavy emblems of his learning, and
then went back to his Corpus Christi duties and his study,
where he took extreme pains in poring over the Bible
sources and choosing English phrases. Normally the trans-
lators met in his quarters once a week to discuss the
Bible work now put aside.
When the king left, his party and the divines, plump
and lean, with all sorts of other people crowded the high-
ways. Men, women, and children rode in a jingling
traffic of gay colors. Sedate translators returned to their
livings. In the stream many were walking, and there were
carts for luggage and varied goods. Traffic converged on
Oxford too, turning out and waiting as advance riders
warned that the royal progress was coming. On the face
of England there had been few changes since the time
of Chaucer's pilgrims. The real changes would come
when readers of the new Bible learned to overturn what
James thought and urged, and to read into his Bible what
he most strongly opposed.
After long delays, Parliament was to meet on November
5, 1605. Great Britain still observes that date with bon-
fires, and boys dressing up, putting on masks, going
around begging for pennies, and shouting a ragged little
rhyme. On that day all who approached Whitehall and
the old palace of Westminster found the streets barred
by soldiers. London seethed with alarm, awe, and rumors,
ill-founded and well-founded. When it appeared that
Parliament was to convene still later, the crowd at length
The trouble had begun long before. From Brussels,
March 17, 1604, a newsletter had said: "It is also reported
that all Catholics are to leave England on pain of death.
Should anyone of this religion be met with in the future,
all his property and fortune are to go to his nearest friend.
It is a subtle scheme for one friend to denounce the other,
wherefrom it is to be gathered what is to be expected from
In secret, it is now supposed, Queen Anne had become
a papist. She and the king were oddly unsure of each
other, though without an open break. James meant in the
main to preserve the Church of England as it was, so long
as it helped preserve his kingship. Thus, angry at a report
that he had become a convert of Rome, James was putting
in force with doubled vigor the revived penal laws against
the papists. Those who belonged to the Roman Church,
many with famous old names, were enraged or in despair.
A band of them, mainly kinsfolk, had begun to plot
some six months before, about the time a cuckoo flew
over the pulpit of Paul's Cross and cried out this at the
time was seen as an omen of something dire to come. The
story is too involved to give in detail here, but on October
26, the Lord Chamberlain, Monteagle, received an un-
signed letter begging him to stay away from Parliament
on the day it opened. He took the letter to Robert Cecil,
who on November i showed it to the king at a midnight
meeting. The king shrewdly surmised a good deal of what
Monday, November 4, an agent of the royal party
found in a cellar beneath the House of Lords a man, named
Guy Fawkes, disguised as a servant, beside piles of faggots,
billets of wood, and masses of coal. The agent went away.
Shortly Monteagle and one other came and talked, but
gave no heed to Fawkes, who was still on guard, until
they were about to go. He told them he was a servant of
Thomas Percy, a well-known papist. Still later, at mid-
night, soldiers found Fawkes booted and spurred and
with a lantern outside the cellar door. He had taken few
pains to conceal his actions. They dragged him into an
alley, searched him, and found on him a tinderbox and
a length of slow match. In a fury now they moved the
faggots, billets, and coal, and came upon barrel after
barrel of powder, thirty-six barrels in all. Fawkes then
confessed that he meant to blow up the House of Lords
and the king.
On November 6, Percy, with others, rushed into an Inn
at Dunchurch, Warwickshire, with the news that the
court was aware of their plan. By the eighth the whole
attempt had clearly failed. When Parliament met a week
after the stated day, the king, calm, gracious, and splendid,
told what had happened and then adjourned the meeting.
At first Fawkes refused to name any except Percy, who,
with others, was killed in the course of a chase. In time
he gave the names of all, who would have blown up the
House of Lords "at a clap."
Guy Fawkes was baptized at St. Michael le Belfrey,
York, April 16, 1570, son of Edward Fawkes, a proctor
and advocate in the church courts of York. The father
died and the mother married a papist. In 1603 Guy
Fawkes went to Madrid to urge that Philip III invade
England. Thus he was a confirmed traitor, though egged
on and used by more astute plotters.
Some of these men had been involved in the rising of
the Earl of Essex. A number were former members of
the Church of England. Most of them had some land and
wealth. They were all highly disturbed beings, throw-
backs, who meant to subvert the state and get rid of
King James. Church and state, they were sure, must be
at one, with fealty to the Pope.
In Westminster Hall, January 27, 1606, there was a
trial after a fashion with no real defense. Sir Edward
Coke simply outlined the case and asked sonie questions.
For nearly a year, the plotters had been digging a tun-
nel from a distance, but had found the wall under the
House of Lords nine feet thick. They had then got access
to the cellar by renting a building. They had planned to
kill the king, seize his children, stir up an open revolt
with aid from Spaniards in Flanders, put Princess Elizabeth
on the throne, and marry her to a papist. Though all but
one, Sir Everard Digby, pleaded not guilty, the court,
such as it was, condemned them all to death. That same
week they were all hanged, four in St. Paul's churchyard,
where John Overall, the translator, could have looked
on, and four in the yard of the old palace. Among the
latter was Guy Fawkes, tall, brown-haired, and with an
auburn beard. He was so weak from torture that guards
had to help him up to the scaffold. Percy and three others
had been killed before while trying to escape, and one
had died in prison.
Three months later came the trial of Henry Garnet,
a Jesuit, thought to be head of the Jesuits in England.
Brought up a Protestant, he knew of the plot but had
shrunk in horror from it, though he left the chosen victims
to their fate. The court condemned him also to die.
All this concerned the men at work on the Bible. At
Garnet's hanging, May 3, in St. Paul's churchyard, John
Overall, Dean of St. Paul's, took time off from his trans-
lating to be present. Very gravely and Christianly he and
the Dean of Winchester urged upon Garnet "a true and
lively faith to God-ward," a free and plain statement to
the world of his offense; and if any further treason lay in
his knowledge, he was begged to unburden his conscience
and show a sorrow and detestation of it. Garnet, firm in
his beliefs, desired them not to trouble him. So after the
men assigned to the gruesome duty had hanged, drawn,
and quartered the victim, Dean Overall returned to St.
Paul's and his Bible task.
That year, 1606, Overall was also writing his convo-
cation book of canons. This was intended to be a code
for the faithful. A part of it upheld the divine right of
kings. Yet, Overall argued, if any upset by force occurred
and a new rule succeeded, this too in turn could plead
for itself a divine right, and insist that the people obey it,
thus to do their duty toward God. To touchy James this
was false doctrine. So he suppressed the whole book of
canons, which came out only after 1688, when James II
was forced to leave the country.
The Guy Fawkes plot inspired many sermons. Of the
translators, Ravis preached at Paul's Cross, Barlow at West-
minster, and Andrewes at Whitehall. From then on
Andrewes preached ten Guy Fawkes sermons before the
king, one a year, deriving awful lessons from the horrid
William Barlow also preached at Paul's Cross on the
Sunday after the plot came to light. His text was Psalm
18:50: "Great deliverance giveth He to His king, and
sheweth mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his seed
for evermore/' Of Guy Fawkes Barlow said: "To make
himself drunk with the blood of so many worthies . . .
such heaps he had laid in of billets, faggots, large stones,
iron crows, pickaxes, great hammer heads, besides so
many barrels of gun powder . . . not manlike to kill but
beastlike to ... tear parcel meal the bodies of such per-
sonages . . . this whirling blast would have been unto
our sacred king ... as the whirlwind and fiery chariot
of Elias, to have carried up his soul to heaven/'
The first Guy Fawkes sermon by Lancelot Andrewes was
on Psalm 118:23, 24: "This is the Lord's doing; it is
marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord
hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." He implied
that God let the plotters proceed so that He could destroy
them in signal fashion, to give the public a good lesson:
"We have therefore well done ... by law to provide
that this day should not die, nor the memorial thereof
perish, from ourselves or from our seed, but be con-
secrated to a perpetual memory, by a yearly acknowledg-
ment to be made of it throughout all generations. . . /'
Other sermons following the Fawkes attempt were aimed
directly at the papist party, now, naturally in even less
favor. The Church of England had maintained, and
maintains, that the Catholic Church is, as the term means,
the church universal. That the Roman Church could be
that church universal seemed absurd to such divines as
the translator, the stodgy George Abbot. Yet he, like
others to this day, confused oneness, the belief that there
can be but one Christian Church, with places and numbers
of people. Thus he wrote with righteous scorn to a papist,
"What say you to the south continent, which is so huge
a country that if the firm land do hold unto the pole, as
it commonly is received and believed, it very near equaleth
all Asia, Africa, and Europe, and what part in all that
world is thoroughly discovered as yet by any Christian?
... If we look unto the northern and colder parts of
America, which are not so fit for the breeding of gold
[how wrong he was about that!] . . . what huge countries
be there of incomparable bigness which have nothing of
Christianity in them?"
In other words, unless the Church of Rome had spread
to all parts of the world, how could it claim to be the one
church for all? He disdained the papist's mention of
Goa, "as if it were some huge region, whereas it is but a
city." As he argued, he contradicted himself, for he also
wrote, "You are misinformed that the protestants do
glory in their great number; they know that truth is
truth, be it in more or few." The papists, with subdued
fury about the new Bible, and the Church of England
kept on pushing for themselves, and against each other.
The translators worked on in this stormy air.
Nor was the controversy limited to the Catholic claims.
In the summer of 1606 four divines preached before the
king on how to reduce some Presbyterian Scots to a right
feeling toward the Church of England. Among them were
Andrewes and Barlow.
Meanwhile a young man in Holland was stirring up
questions which long after involved Dr. Andrewes and
George Abbot. Born in Essex about 1575, Bartholomew
Legate had no college training, but, after being a dealer
in cloth lists, he preached among the "Seekers," an off-
shoot of the Mennonites in Zeeland. He soon found that
Mennonite tenet, that our Lord's body came from heaven,
an "execrable heresy," By 1605 he was teaching that
Jesus Christ was a mere man, but born free from sin.
The Scriptures, he said, term him God, not from his
essence but because of his office. This was more than any
stable churchmen could endure. The case of this bold
minor figure was to be as evil as that of Guy Fawkes.
Tried by the London consistory, with George Abbot
presiding and Lancelot Andrewes a member, Legate was
condemned to death.
After the Gunpowder Plot failed, the religious con-
flict entered a less explosive stage, but one involving many
differences of opinion. The Established Church in Eng-
land, as in Rome, fought all divergences as heresy. In
1607 Thomas Ravis, the Oxford translator, became Bishop
of London succeeding the man who had replaced Richard
Bancroft when the latter became Archbishop of Canter-
bury. Ravis, always grim, at once began to harass those
who would not submit fully to the Church. "By the help
of Jesus/' he announced with haughty sureness that Jesus
was with him, "I will not leave one preacher in my diocese
who doth not subscribe and conform." While he worked
on the Bible, he was highly active as a hated scourge.
Writing "Of Unity in Religion/' Andrewes' friend Francis
Bacon said, "Lukewarm persons think they may accom-
modate points of religion by middle ways, and taking
part of both." The bishops among the translators were
far from lukewarm. They had no use for middle ways.
On July 3 the king had declared: "We advise conformity
especially of ministers, who have been the chief authors
of divisions, and hope they will not omit substantial
duties for shadows and semblance of zeal. If they are in-
tractable, they must be compelled by the authority which
we are compelled to use for preservation of the church's
authority. Such as have been censured for disobedience
may have till 30 November to bethink them of their
course, and then either conform or dispose of themselves
in other ways, as after that, proceeding will be taken
against them." Though the king was competent to ex-
press himself, we may assume that he used ghost writers,
among them no doubt Bancroft, Robert Cecil, and Sir
One main pinch was that all the clergy had to accept
all those of the thirty-nine articles that dealt with rites
and ceremonies. From a modern point of view those were
the shadows, not the substance, of worship. But at the
Hampton Court meeting, as we have seen, there had been
controversy over making the sign of the cross, and there
were many other matters in dispute.
Increasing conflict made it certain that the men added
to the list of translators would be stanch supporters of
the established church. This was true of Leonard Hutton,
chaplain to Bishop Bancroft. At Oxford in 1605 Hutton
published An Answer to a Certain Treatise of the Cross
in Baptism. This he addressed to Richard Bancroft, Arch-
bishop since November. In it he opposed a statement that
"the sign of the cross being a human ordinance is become
an idol and may not lawfully be used in the service of
God/' This he countered with a plea that "the consigna-
tion of a child's forehead in baptism was one of the most
ancient ceremonies of Christianity." Some made a differ-
ence of the place for the sign, in baptism on the crown,
in confirmation on the forehead. Many used the sign of
the cross in all sorts of low ways, as on their breasts and
foreheads in dice playing, to bring them luck.
Hutton went on, "How much better were it to turn
these forces that are spent upon ourselves against the
common adversary who (as lamentable experience hath
taught us) maketh this strife of ours a fit occasion and in-
strument to overthrow our common faith." That urging
of common sense and oneness meant, alas, that all the
Puritans should accept his point of view. It never occurred
to him that those who liked the cross in baptism might
use it, and that those who disliked it might reject it.
"These things and many other grievous sins and works
of darkness, that blush not ... to show themselves in
the open day, could not thus swarm amongst us as daily
they do, If we all truly Intended the same thing, if we
could faithfully and unfeignedly give one another the
right hand of fellowship, and seriously do the Lord's work
with one consent." Again this hearty standing for that one
consent meant that all should consent to what Hutton be-
lieved; stop all this silly fighting, and agree with what I
tell you! He wrote further: 'That which I would now
say is, to desire the treatiser and his friends that they
would first reform themselves/' What could be more
within reason? It may seem to us today that he was writing
not really to persuade those on the other side of the wordy
contest, but to please his master, Bancroft, head of the
Church under the king.
Loving peace on his own terms, Hutton had a tranquil
life, while the Puritans waxed more potent around him.
"If you fear a curse," he said grandly, "you fear where
no cause of fear is/' A stained glass window at Christ
Church bears the arms of this translator and two other
Oxonians, Edes and Ravis.
As the conflicts continued, the power of the bishops, an
issue at Hampton Court, became stronger. "The occa-
sion which caused the apostles to appoint bishops," An-
drewes said, "seemeth to have been schisms." Again he
said, "The whole ministry of the New Testament was at
the first invested in Christ alone. He is termed . . .
bishop, I Peter 2:25."
Bishop Barlow preached on the antiquity and suprem-
acy of bishops, using as his text Acts 20:28, "Take heed
therefore with yourselves, and to all the flock over whom
the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the
church of God, which he hath purchased with his own
blood." It was clear to Barlow that overseers meant
bishops. Yet to this day scholars in commentaries argue
whether the Greek word rendered in English as bishop
meant what we mean by bishop at all. Given the times
and the number of bishops among the learned men, the
new Bible was certain to sustain the cult of bishops
wherever the chance arose.
Of the bishops one at least was to be highly useful. For
Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, with Miles Smith,
at the end revised all that the rest had done. He was one
on whom the king and his trusted churchmen relied. We
may well ask how his style fitted him to burnish the whole
final draft, but i we use this criterion we may ask in vain.
Bishop Bilson was for the most part a dull writer. So are
many first-rate editors.
He was born in Winchester in 1547, the son of German
parents. His father, Herman, was a son of Arnold and per-
haps a daughter of a duke of Bavaria. At New College,
Oxford, Thomas Bilson became a doctor of divinity in
1581, and was raised to Bishop of Winchester in 1597. In
many ways he carried on the holy warfare of the Church;
at New College in 1599, where the Puritans were getting
stronger, he had to insist on the wearing of surplice and
hood with the same firmness with which he forbade taking
meat from the kitchen and bread from the buttery be-
tween meals. Liking philosophy, physics, and divinity, the
bishop was also fond of poetry. In that fondness we may
find a clue to his skill with the Bible work toward the end.
But mainly, being very well aware of the church conflicts
that had always been rampant, Bilson was correct in
dogma, a safe man to steady the king's new English Bible.
One said of Bishop Bilson that he "carried prelature in
his very aspect."
On "the perpetual government of Christ's church," Bil-
son said: "The second assured sign of episcopal power is
imposition of hands to ordain presbyters and bishops, for
as pastors were to have some to assist them in their charge,
which were presbyters, so were they to have others to
succeed them in their places which were bishops. And
this right by imposing hands to ordain presbyters and
bishops in the church of Christ was at first derived from
the apostles unto bishops not unto presbyters."
Thus he was ready to squelch the Presbyterian nonsense
which the king hated. The word "presbyters" appears
only once in the King James Bible, but the Greek word
thus rendered is in many other places translated "elders."
The Presbyterians have survived all the would-be squelch-
ings by Bilson and others. The good bishop himself com-
mented on differences of opinion as inevitable:
"Who doth marvel that amongst so many thousands of
bishops as the whole world yielded in so many hundred
years there should be some contentious and ambitious
spirits. . . . Were the pastors but of England, France,
and Germany to meet in a free synod, I will not ask you
when they would agree, but if their tongues be like their
pens, there would be more need of officers to part the
frays than of notaries to write the acts."
The Bible on which the translators worked was born
amid vivid and ruthless controversy. Yet outwardly at
least the learned men made their peace with authority. On
December 20, 1606, Dr. John Duport, the translator who
was master of Jesus College, Cambridge, declared that all
of that house conformed to the doctrine and discipline of
the Church of England. By then all the Puritan translators
had conformed enough to escape being banished or direly
punished in other ways. That month Archbishop Ban-
croft began to proceed against any Puritan clergy who
were stubborn, and in a year, some historians say, got
rid of three hundred, though others say fewer.
In 1607 a number of these men found an alternative:
they sailed to Virginia. In due course the Puritans won
England for a time, and then lost, while they long
triumphed in America.
On Eleventh and Twelfth Nights, 1606, just before the
hanging of the gunpowder plotters, the Masque of Hymen
by Ben Jonson cheered the wedding of Robert Devereux,
Earl of Essex, and Lady Frances, daughter of the Earl of
Suffolk. This Essex, son of the Essex who lost his head,
was a boy of fourteen and his bride was a girl of thirteen.
Years later two of the translators had to do something
further about the marriage.
Now Lancelot Andrewes, while he translated, was in
the thick of events, both gay and grave. By disposition and
training It was easy for him to turn his thoughts from the
divine to the secular, from the scholarly to the worldly.
At Westminster he saw to the repair of the dean's lodgings,
and when he went to Chichester as bishop he repaired the
palace. Often he was with the king at Newmarket for the
horse racing and the bloodier sports. We may surmise
that his sermons served to make the king less trying.
As Bishop of Gloucester Thomas Ravis spent lavishly
on social affairs, and It was said that he "in so short a time
had gained the good liking of all sorts that some who could
not brook the name of bishop were content to give (or
rather to pay) him a good report/' He also constructed
conduits to bring water into his bishop's palace, built
much of it anew, and improved the paving.
As the progress and advancement of the translators con-
tinued Jeffrey King, of Andrewes' Westminster Hebrew
group, a fellow of King's College, became royal professor
of Hebrew at Cambridge.
Bishop Barlow, the translator, had to officiate at a royal
funeral. The Princess Sophia was born at Greenwich on
June 22, 1606, and died the next day. A barge covered
with black velvet conveyed her to the chapel royal at
Then, in February, 1607, another translator died Wil-
liam Dakins, professor of divinity at Gresham College,
And now the worst sling of fortune so far struck the
learned men engaged on the Bible. Dr. John Rainolds, ill
as he thought with the gout, had long received his fellow
workers while living on a pallet in his study. On April i,
1606, he had been sick enough to make his will. Now at
last on May 21, 1607, he died, not of gout but of phthisis.
"His last sickness/' one said, "was contracted merely
["merely" then meant "wholly"] by exceeding pains in
study by which he brought his withered body to a very
skeleton." His death came only a bit over three years after
the Hampton Court meeting at which he had proposed
the new Bible.
His will may be seen at Corpus Christi College, to
which he gave a hundred of his books. To the Bodleian
he gave forty books, and to other colleges, Queen's, Mer-
ton, New, University, Oriel, Exeter, Trinity, and Brase-
nose, he gave many more. One of his treasures was his
Regia Bible in eight volumes. There was a special be-
quest of books to Sir Henry Savile, his austere fellow
translator, the high churchman.
To the one who would succeed him as head of Corpus
Christi College he left his map of England, his linen and
woolen bedding and lesser household things, and his note-
books about the college. Though we may have thought of
him as a man alone, he made bequests to his two brothers
and to his sister. To two friends he gave his private note-
books, papers, letters, and writings, to make away with
those which could do no good, and to publish only those
lectures which he had finished.
There are early letters from his friend and comrade in
the translation, Ralph Hutchinson, who had died the
year before. They show again how absorbed these men
had always been in their Bible studies. Thus Hutchinson
wrote of commentaries mentioned by one man, "The com-
mentaries ... I can assure you to be mere empty names.
For except those which are in the Venice Bible, let any
man in Christendom show me so many as he speaketh of
upon the book of Esther, and I dare make myself his
bondman. And even for those in the Bomberg edition of
the Bible, I know not whether Ezra and Salome be joined
there or no in any of those editions which are his/' One
problem of the learned men was to reject fakes made by
The list of Rainolds' possessions fills a long page. There
were books valued at 774 pounds, 10 shillings, a large sum
for those days. Maps of England, Europe, Asia, Africa,
and America were worth 8 pounds, 8 shillings. His early
map of America before Virginia or Plymouth was settled
would be worth a good deal today.
Among his other precious things were a silver bottle,
a watch, a signet, a pair of bellows, some sugar and ginger
(perhaps for use in his sickness), a penknife, wax papers,
and clothes. He had gowns with hoods faced with velvet,
twelve pairs of stockings, a rug and a blanket, twelve fine
towels, two pairs of silk garters, a muff, some gloves, and
other maybe stranger objects set down in writing too diffi-
cult to read. There is no surplice on the list, though he
had conformed enough to wear one. In sum they were the
simple, useful goods of an eminent but quiet, devout
scholar, who lived in much more comfort than Elder
William Brewster and other American Pilgrim fathers
some decades later. At the end of his will Rainolds gently
quoted, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to
the Grecians ["Gentiles" in the King James version], nor
to the church of God."
Corpus Christi College chose to succeed him as president
John Spenser, a fellow translator of. the Andrewes group,
the preacher who had warned of how the Church as it
prospers may become lax and corrupt. In the college statues
the figure of Rainolds stands with a closed book, the Old
Testament which he helped translate, and the figure of
Spenser stands with an open book, the New Testament,
on which he worked,
May 22, 1607, the day after Dr. John Rainolds died,
a masque by Ben Jonson was performed before the king
at Theobalds. Like other Jonson masques, it played up
to James. The final couplet was,
So gentle winds breed happy springs,
And duty thrives by breath of kings.
On that day James obtained from the Earl of Salisbury,
in exchange for the manor of Hatfield, the mansion of
Theobalds in Hertfordshire, where he had often had good
times. Built by the earl's father, William Cecil, it had
curious buildings, lovely walks, and pleasant conceits
within and without. Nevertheless, it was said that the
shrewd earl gained by the bargain with the canny, grasping
With Parliament, which was growing more Puritan,
James was ever in conflict, much of the time about money.
The king was spending more and more on the costly
trappings of the state as well as for his public and private
pleasures. A court case had at length given him the long-
withheld right to levy customs duties as he pleased, since,
as it said, all affairs of commerce belonged to the king's
power. While he delayed the levies, his debts grew. It was
no wonder that he could pay his Bible translators only
through the assignment of livings and minor incomes
The early years of James's reign, like the time of Eliza-
beth, saw many stirring ventures which would in due
season help England to prosper. In 1607 a dozen rough,
eager sea dogs, their captain among them, received the
Lord's Supper at St. Ethelburgh's, Bishopsgate, London.
The tiny shop of a glover was cooped up in its porch.
Nearby were taverns, the Angel, the Four Swans, the
Queen's Head, and narrow, crooked alleys, such as those
named Wormwood and Peahen. The rector was the Bible
translator and Arabic scholar, Dr. William Bedwell, who
was then hard at work also on his great Arabic lexicon.
The captain with his seamen, about to set out on their
voyage in the Hopewell to sail as they thought across the
North Pole, was Henry Hudson.
In and around London on December 8, 1607, a hard
frost set in and lasted for seven days, to impede movement.
After a partial thaw, the frost got worse on the twenty-
second. The Thames was so thickly covered with ice that
it became the place for public fun. Coaches drove over
the river as if it were dry land. Many set up booths and
standings of sundry goods to sell upon the ice. On Feb-
ruary i the ice at last began to break, the pressure break-
ing up many quaint wooden bridges, while floodwaters
destroyed much wild fowl, fish, and herbage in gardens,
such as artichokes and rosemary. Only in April did the
freezing cease. No doubt in London, then as now ill-
equipped for winter temperatures near zero, the trans-
lators at Westminster could hardly hold their books,
papers, and pens, unless they hovered close to fireplaces.
The next year there were two more masques by Ben
Jonson, the queen's masque on January 14, 1608, and in
February the masque at Lord Hadington's marriage.
There is no complaint of flimsy clothes at these. But
when Queen Anne's brother, the king of Denmark, came
to England for a state visit, he found ladies of the court
too drunk to dance. They needed but gave no heed to
Biblical sermons about wine as a mocker and strong drink
Teeming with commerce and population growth, Lon-
don was undergoing a sort of building racket. "The itch
of building continuing in defiance of the laws in being
and the late proclamation, his majesty, looking upon the
great increase of building in and about London as a
rickety distemper in the head of the kingdom, which
occasions a flux of humors and diseases to approach the
court, and might in time bring the plague to Whitehall,
did with the advice of his council again strictly prohibit
the erecting buildings upon new foundations within two
miles of the city, upon penalty of having them destroyed."
Even the Westminster translators lived in fear of the
plague, which many now supposed came partly from
overcrowding and bad buildings. About how to dispose
of sewage and other refuse people knew next to nothing.
In 1608 there was some difficulty about making Dr.
John Harding, the Oxford translation chairman, presi-
dent of Magdalen College. Thus Dr. Arthur Lake wrote,
February 24, 1608, to his elder brother, Sir Thomas Lake,
the king's secretary, "I have been to the Bishop of Win-
chester who will do his best to forward Dr. Harding, but
there is a great conspiracy to exclude him." The two Lakes
wrote to the vice-president and fellows of Magdalen Col-
lege in Dr. Harding's behalf. At length Dr. Harding got
the place, but lasted only a little over a year. Then Dr.
Richard Kilby, another translator, replaced him.
In December, 1608, William Eyre, Emmanuel College,
Cambridge, who sounds as if he were a translator, wrote
a letter to James Ussher in Dublin, Ireland. 1 Eyre men-
tioned the pestilence in Cambridge, which must have
alarmed the translators there, and the illness of Scaliger,
the famous scholar and traveler, "with a dropsy and not
like to escape death." Eyre asked that Ussher, because
the new translation of the Bible was being hastened, re-
turn to him the copy of the part which he had lent to
Ussher for a Dr. Daniel's use. The letter shows that there
was an order from the king through the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Bancroft, that the translation of the Bible be
1 Ussher was later to prepare a chronology of Biblical events found in the
reference columns of many editions of the King James Bible.
"finished and printed/' That end was still a long way off.
During this same year there escaped from England to
Amsterdam some of those who were to become the Ply-
mouth Pilgrims, among them Elder William Brewster,
perhaps William Bradford, and pastor John Robinson,
who never reached America. Brewster and Robinson had
been in college with some of the translators. Robinson
must have known well John Overall and Laurence
The learned men kept on rising in their church world.
On April 18, 1608, Arthur Lake, younger brother of the
king's secretary, became Dean of Worcester. A year later,
May 27, 1609, George Abbot, the prosy, dogged translator,
became Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. On December
14 of that year died the stringent but sociable translator,
Thomas Ravis, Bishop of London, who had been Dean
of Christ Church. Before George Abbot could get used
to Lichfield and Coventry, he became on February 12,
1610, Bishop of London, third in line from Richard Ban-
croft, who for six years had been Archbishop of Canter-
bury. All because Abbot's mother caught and ate a young
pike while she waited for his birth, his advance to glory
was steady and sure.
Meanwhile the king had many royal matters on his
mind. He had to proclaim against "hunters, stealers, and
killers of deer within any of the King's Majesty's forests,
closes, or parks" at Hampton Court. Having built a new
banquet house at Whitehall, he had celebrated with Jon-
son's Masque of Queens. Twelve women in the habits of
hags and witches spoke such lines as,
The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad
And so is the cat-a-mountain,
The ant and the mole sit both in a hole.
Old furies about witches had died down for a time; there
had even been reprieves and pardons. In 1608 the Earl
of Northampton as Warden of the Cinque Ports induced
the Mayor of Rye to admit to bail a woman condemned to
death for aiding a witch. Her hanging had been stayed;
it was feared that she might succumb in the loathsome
prison. That year also Simon Reade, a doctor and cunning
man of Southwark, was pardoned after it was charged
that he conjured and invoked unclean spirits. For the
time being witches were more to amuse than to scare
The magical East India Company, first chartered by
Queen Elizabeth in 1600, now received from King James
a charter without limit of time. These were years for and
of brilliance. Captain John Smith was off in Virginia.
Captain Henry Hudson was about to sail up the lordly
river that glories in his name. James took his queen, Anne,
and the children to the Tower to see a treat of the lion's
single valor against a great fierce bear which had killed
another bear. So the romance and triviality of royal life
went on while the translators slowly approached the end
of their labors.
Now we revert to the translator John Overall, Dean of
St. Paul's, who struggled with the profanations in Paul's
Walk. When he was more than forty he had married a
great beauty, Anne Orwell. They seem to have got on
together for a time. Isaac Casaubon, who stayed with the
Overalls in the dean's house, wrote letters mentioning
Mrs. Overall in vague but kindly terms. At length of a
sudden she ran away with a man named Sir John Selby.
His name is all we know about him. Someone, or a number
of men, chased the lovers along a road from London and
brought the lady back to her husband. What the conflicts
of the Overalls were or how the couple made out as they
lived on in holy deadlock after the lady thus eloped and
got caught we know not. Other wives of translators worried
their husbands almost beyond bearing. Not all of the
learned men profited by the advice of their fellow trans-
lator Francis Dillingham, who, though he never married,
set forth how to keep a wife in proper subjection.
CHAPTER 1 I
The Qood Word
In a time of intense conflict within and without the
churches, the work on the Bible did not escape. One who
in anger opposed it was the great Puritan Hebraist, Hugh
Broughton. Broughton himself had urged a revised ver-
sion and had hoped to be among those chosen for the
work, but was left out because he was so acrid in his
Broughton's first conflict had been with Edward Lively,
the Cambridge translator, over Lively's time scheme for
the Bible. Now he was bitter against Archbishop Bancroft
and Bishop Bilson about the latter's thesis, the common
belief of many churches today, that the soul of Jesus went
for a short time to hell.
Bancroft, he said, "is a deadly enemy to both testaments
and unallowable in this course to be a teacher or to rule
in learning/* In a pamphlet he went on with the attack
on Bancroft, who had no love for him. "Tell Ms majesty,"
he wrote among other things, "that I had rather be rent
to pieces with wild horses than any such translation by
my consent should be urged upon poor churches/' The
statement against Bancroft, the chief prelate in what was
still Broughton's church, was addressed to the House of
Lords. Now, in the reaction against the Puritans, Brough-
ton was in danger, while Bancroft firmly managed the
Among the papers o John Rainolds are some Brough-
ton comments and advice set down with respect for his
learning. Broughton made his own partial version of the
Bible from which the King James men appear to have
taken some wordings. Speaking of wild horses, Broughton
said of the horse, in Job 39:19, "Canst thou clothe his
neck with thunder?" The King James Bible asks, "Hast
thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck
with thunder?" The English Revised Version has it, "Hast
thou given the horse his might? Hast thou clothed his neck
with the quivering mane?" No doubt this last conveys
more of the Hebrew meaning. The King James men were
working with, among other versions, the Bishops' Bible.
That says oddly, "Hast thou given the horse his strength
or learned him to neigh courageously?" This seems to
be just a leaping guess at what appeared obscure. Yet all
these wordings proclaim the power of God, and each has
its rhythm and delight for us. Thunder is a figure for
that which quivers; what a splendid phrase we lose if we
object to "clothed his neck with thunder." We can thank
rabid Hugh Broughton for his inspired word.
And as the work went on even Hugh Broughton was
softening somewhat his thoughts about the new version.
In 1609 he wrote, "None should bear sway in translating
but the able." But he added, "The king's care to have
the law and gospel learnedly translated hath stirred much
study and expectation of good, and all true hearted sub-
jects will be ready for forebearance."
It was, as we all know, a time of lambent English writ-
ing in other fields. Whitehall may have had Shakespeare's
Othello on November i, 1604. King Lear seems to date
from 1605. Even Michael Drayton was writing his A gin-
court "Fair stood the wind for France" and his ringing
sonnet, "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part."
Samuel Daniel, along with his masques and other poems,
wrote the lovely, expert sonnet, "Look, Delia, how we
stem the half-blown rose/' Raleigh, in the Tower, and
Bacon were, as writers, in their prime. The blooming of
even the minor Elizabethans appeared at its best while
the translators labored, and may have given their hearts
and minds some of its lushness. Yet the Bible and those
flaming Elizabethans existed in realms apart.
Shakespeare seldom quoted or mentioned the Scrip-
tures. There are, of course, words, phrases, and images
common to both his plays and the Bible. In the earlier
plays the promise of Deuteronomy 32:2, "My doctrine
shall drop as the rain/' has a parallel in Portia's descrip-
tion of mercy that "droppeth as the gentle rain from
heaven." The rhetorical question, "What is man, that
thou art mindful of him? 5 * found in Psalm 8:4, and quoted
in Hebrews 2:6, was echoed again in Hamlet's "What a
piece of work is a man!" But these are similes and ideas
inevitably occurring in works of such magnitude as the
combined Old and New Testaments and the collected
plays of Shakespeare.
If we compare the work done at the same time we find
that while Bois, Downes, and the rest were shaping up the
new Bible, Shakespeare was writing, had just written, or
was about to write The Winter's Tale, Gymbeline, and
The Tempest. There are no completed thoughts in these
three plays that appear in the Bible too. Almost never in
them does Shakespeare so much as arrange two words in
any exact likeness to a Bible phrase. In The Winter's Tale
there is a Biblical allusion in the line "my name be yoked
with his that did betray the Best." In the same play one
clause reads "lift up your countenance," inviting compari-
son with the Bible's "lift up his countenance/' This is
probably just a chance likeness. The Winter's Tale also
contains a topical reference to a Puritan who sings psalms
to hornpipes, but this shows mainly that Shakespeare did
not take the Puritans seriously.
Indeed much writing of the age seemed opposed to the
Bible. Though George Chapman, for Instance, often
quoted the Scriptures, he also wrote in Bussy D'Ambois,
A deal of stuff together, use by use,
Or by the mere necessity of matter,
Ends such a work, fills it, or leaves it empty
Of strength or virtue, error or clear truth,
Not knowing what she does.
The Bible and the preachers had to do their utmost against
such blasphemous talk, implying that nature, or matter,
could evolve itself without divine purpose. Because of
such speculations the translators had distrust for the writ-
ing of plays, lyrics, and profane pieces of most kinds, even
though the king enjoyed them.
The age had countless contests between the lovely and
the ugly, and the king's poor grandeur could further the
worst and the best. Ben Jonson, who made so many
masques for the king, could be vulgar in the extreme. He
could also write, "Drink to me only with thine eyes/'
Thomas Campion, who wrote rather tawdry masques,
wrote also "The man of life upright/' Did Shakespeare
have clean hands and a pure heart? His plays, especially
in the bloodier and bawdier passages, cast doubt on that.
Inner conflicts, or those in contemporary society, may
be good for artists in words.
Yet the learned men, though together they made a
masterpiece, were not primarily artists or men of letters,
and the question remains how fifty to sixty men of as
many minds achieved, in one great joint undertaking, the
verbal felicities of the King James version. The king and
his bishops who assigned the task apparently acted on
the assumption that the work would be handled like any
other churchly task, proceeding under authority from the
lowest to the highest, at each stage to be approved by the
next-ranking superior until it should reach the Crown.
Such a plan allowed little leeway for Individual artistry
in expression or even for inspiration.
When they went to work, the translators themselves
outlined a more democratic procedure by which, after
each had translated assigned passages, the proposed new
version should be read aloud and listened to by the whole
group, each hearer holding a different version of the
passage for comparison. How well this plan of work was
adhered to, after the start, it is difficult to say.
Yet we can discover a good deal about the way the
learned men actually worked, and how carefully they
would have said painfully they tried each word before
setting it down. This knowledge we owe to notes made
by John Bois of Cambridge.
Beginning probably some time in 1609, and continuing
daily for three-fourths of a year, John Bois, Andrew
Downes, and four other's went daily to Stationers* Hall in
London to revise the first draft of the Bible as it came
from the groups in the universities and at Westminster.
Stationers' Hall was a plain structure of brick, with
square casement windows and ovals above them. An iron
railing enclosed the court before the building. A flight of
stone steps in a circle led up to the grand entrance. In-
side were good halls and rooms large and small. The place
had a feeling of placid worth. There for hundreds of years
nearly all who would bring out books had to "enter"
them, and thus obtain certain rights the beginning of
today's copyright laws to prevent pirating. Oddly, in the
published lists of Stationers' Hall there is found no entry
for the 1611 Bible, to which Robert Barker, the King's
Printer, alone had any title.
Among the six men who went over the first drafts of
the Bible manuscript at Stationers' Hall, besides Bois and
Downes, were probably Arthur Lake and John Harmer.
Arthur Lake, brother to the king's secretary, was born
at St. Michael's, Southampton, in September, 1559, a son
of Almeric Lake. He went to Winchester College, and was
a fellow at New College, Oxford, where he became a
doctor of divinity, May 16, 1605. In July, 1607, he was
an archdeacon in Surrey, and in 1608 Dean of Worcester.
An early written list, partly of queries, at Lambeth Palace
mentions him among the translators. The Bois notes on
their work refer here and there to AL, which of trans-
lators' initials could be only Arthur Lake. Conceivably
the two letters stood, instead, for alius or alii, "one other"
or "the others/' However, in the notes for Philippians
4:1 we find alii spelled out, all in small letters. So Arthur
Lake may have been one of the six men at Stationers' Hall.
John Harmer, whom Bois names, was born In Newbury,
Berkshire, about 1555. The Ear l of Leicester was his
patron, and in 1569 got him into St. Mary's College, Win-
chester. In 1572 he transferred to New College, Oxford,
where he had a scholarship, being of lowly parents. There
he became a master of arts ten years later. Then, aided
by Leicester, he went abroad and held disputations with
great doctors of the Romish party. In 1585 Leicester had
him made regius professor of Greek at Oxford. From 1588
to 1596 he was headmaster at Winchester. The next year
he settled down for life as warden of St. Mary's. Mean-
while he was also rector at Droxford, Hampshire. Well
read in patristic and scholastic theology, he was a most
noted Latinist and Grecian. He rendered into English
Calvin's sermon on the Ten Commandments. Clearly he
was qualified to sit among the learned Bible men.
John Bois, or Boys, had been a student under Andrew
Downes. On the new Bible both worked first in Cambridge
on the Apocrypha, as we have seen, with John Duport,
William Branthwaite, Jeremy Radcliffe, and the two
Wards. When all the translators had prepared their ver-
sions, alone and in groups, Bois and Downes with the four
others began their nine months' work on the whole in
the daily meetings at Stationers' Hall.
An early account of the work at this stage is found in
a life of Bois written by his friend and admirer, Anthony
Walker. 1 "When it pleased God/' Walker wrote, "to move
King James to that excellent work, the translating of the
Bible, when the translators were to be chosen for Cam-
bridge, he (Bois) was sent for thither by those therein
employed, and chosen one. Some university men thereat
repining (it may be not more able, yet more ambitious to
have a share in the service) and disdaining that it should
be thought that they needed any help from the country,
forgetting that Tully was the same at Tusculum that he
was at Rome/' Thus even at Cambridge some were jealous
of Bois, who had his living outside the university.
"Sure I am/' Walker went on, "that part of the Apoc-
rypha was allotted to him (for he hath showed me the
very copy that he translated by) but I know not what part
thereof. All the time he was about his own part his diet
was given to him at St. John's [College] where he abode
all the week till Saturday night and then went home to
discharge his cure, returning thence on Monday morning."
A little instance of further conflict follows. "When he
had finished his own, at the earnest request of him to
whom it was assigned, he undertook a second part, and
then was in commons at another college. But I will forbear
to name both the person and the house. Four years 2 he
spent in this service, at the end whereof (the whole work
being finished and three copies of the whole Bible being
sent to London, one from Cambridge, a second from Ox-
ford, and a third from Westminster) a new choice was to
be made of six in all, two of each company, to review the
whole work, and extract one out of all three, to be com-
mitted to the press. For the dispatch of this business,
1 Included in Francis Peck's Desiderata Curiosa. London, 1779.
3 The "four years" seem to have been from late 1604 or early 1605 to late
1608 or early 1609, and the three-fourths of a year to have been in 1609, or
perhaps a little into 1610.
Master Downes and he, out of the Cambridge company,
were sent for up to London, where meeting their four fel-
low laborers, they went daily to Stationers Hall, and in
three quarters of a year fulfilled their task. . . . Whilst
they were conversant in this last business, he (Bois) and
he only took notes of their proceedings, which he dili-
gently kept to his dying day."
Walker added that the six received daily "thirteen
shillings each of them by the week from the company of
stationers, though before they had nothing/' The tall,
rugged Downes was stubbornly bent on getting more, and
sometimes avowed that he would go to Stationers' Hall
only if he was fetched or threatened with a pursuivant
bearing a warrant for arrest. He doubtless believed that
his travel on account of the Bible should be at public ex-
pense. We may conclude that Church and state told
Downes and any others with mercenary thoughts to get
on with what they had to do.
However, there are papers to show that Downes had
long been aggrieved and "humbly resolved" to get his
due, with some small success. In 1608 Downes had sent
to the king a humble plea about the maintenance of the
Lady Margaret's divinity lecture which he gave at Cam-
bridge. He said that he had been the king's professor of
Greek now for almost two and twenty years, "employed
beside in the translation and put to the greatest and
hardest part of all," referring to the revision he was about
to undertake, and had "not yet received any consideration
for it, as others gave my inferiors far more in time and
pains." He had looked and hoped all this while to be
remembered with the others, but seeing young men pre-
ferred before him, "and myself still left behind," he was
"driven at the last" to speak for himself. "I have been
the king's professor so long," continually conversant with
all ancient authors, and with Latin and Greek he did
not mention the Hebrew learned at five "it will not
seem I trust unreasonable for me the king's reader to have
some allowance out o that ample portion assigned to the
Lady Margaret's reader till I can be better provided for."
He was thus direct in asking for a good part of the sum
given for the Lady Margaret's reader, 160 pounds. At
last, on May 17, 1609, a royal grant "in regard of his pains"
bestowed on him fifty pounds as a "free gift and reward."
This seems to have been the only cash that any trans-
lator received from the king. The wages paid at Stationers'
Hall, nine pounds a week for the six men, for nine months,
came to 360. It is certain only that this money did not
come from the Crown. Did the Worshipful Company of
Stationers advance the amount for a worthy project, out
of the goodness of their hearts? (Not long before, they
had subscribed 125 toward founding the colony of Vir-
ginia, and five years later would give 45 more.) It seems
more likely that Robert Barker, already licensed to pub-
lish, advanced the money through the company, of which
at about this time he was Master. The amount was only
a little more than a tenth of what he would spend, all
told, on the new Bible. And at any rate the Stationers
provided working space.
If we try to determine the identity of the half dozen,
besides Bois and Downes, Johnv,Harmer and possibly
Arthur Lake, the notes mention Hutchinson, presumably
of the original group working on the New Testament at
Westminster. But a reference does not prove that the
translator named was working at Stationers' Hall; the men
there could have been discussing work done earlier. Bois's
biographer says only that at Stationers' Hall they started
afresh, not with those who had previously been overseers
or supervisors of the groups.
Harmer had translated into English certain sermons
by the French scholar Beza, who followed Calvin at
Geneva and published a New Testament in Latin. Beza's
influence on the work of the translators has been noted by
scholars, and besides Harmer's direct contributions to
the Bois jottings, the several references to Beza may have
been made at his instigation. AL also is quoted, but the
most frequent contributor of recommended readings is
Downes. Downes and Bois were old working partners, hav-
ing been master and student in the early days of Greek
scholarship at Oxford, and together assisting Sir Henry
Savile in his mammoth translation of St. Chrysostom.
Thus as the six men worked their daily stint, presum-
ably around a table piled with papers and books of refer-
ence, the readings recommended by the scholars at Ox-
ford and Cambridge and Westminster, and the Bibles
already translated into English and Latin as well as the
original Hebrew and the variant texts in Greek, we can
see Bois keeping his faithful notes scribbling away at
the pages still preserved for us in the Oxford copy. We
can hear Downes "our most subtle thinker in words/'
Bois called him compare one Greek reading with an-
other, discuss the position of modifiers, or decide which
preposition should be supplied to fit the needs of English
grammar. Did he, as was his habit when lecturing at his
own college, lounge with his long legs on the table? Or
did he, in deference to the company and their solemn
task, sit more decorously; and then, baffled by a puzzling
construction in St. Paul, stand and walk about, perhaps
stare at his own reflection in a window made a mirror by
the black London fog, and think how we "see in a glass
Bois's notes run from Romans through the Apocalypse,
and for the debatable passages present a number of alter-
nate readings. At Stationers' Hall the work was still in
the stage of searching for the right word or combination
of words to express an idea, and even of deciding which
idea to adopt, among the possibilities suggested by the
different translations or inherent in the different gram-
matical structure of the ancient texts. So Bois put down
word meanings as a dictionary would, or alternates as a
thesaurus would; later still would come a choice among
possible constructions for sound and rhythm and euphony
of the whole. The Bois notes show how careful the trans-
lators were, first of all, to determine exact meanings or
establish a permissible range of meaning.
Final constructions thus appear, almost always, to
simplify the Bois suggestions. Thus in Romans 3:9 the
notes suggest: "What then? Are we safe and out of dan-
ger? Are we preferred? Are we God's darlings?" The King
James question is "What then? Are we better than they?"
In I Corinthians 9:18 Bois offered: "that I strain not
to the utmost my power in the gospel, or that I rack not,
or stretch not, etc." The King James reading is, "that I
abuse not my power in the gospel."
Andrew Downes in I Corinthians 10:20 proposed: "and
I would not have you partakers with the devil." The 16 11
Bible said, "and I would not that ye should have fellow-
ship with devils." Here as elsewhere Downes' comments
are in Latin, and long, as he filtered the sense from the
Greek through the Latin, the language of scholars. The
plural "devils," by the way, seems better than "devil" in
the passage, for it appears to mean little demons rather
than the great fiend or Satan. The Revised Standard Ver-
sion uses "demons."
Chapter 15, verse 33 of I Corinthians we all know well.
Downes wanted "good manners," "good natures," or "good
dispositions." The learned men at last settled on the first
of these: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt
For II Corinthians 2:10 Bois proposed "in the person,
in the sight or in the name of Christ." The 1611 Bible
uses a Bois word in its reading, "in the person of Christ."
For 5:3, the Bois suggestion was "if so be that we shall be
found clothed, and not naked." The king's Bible changes
the order: "if so be that being clothed we shall not be
found naked/' For 5:19 Bois put down "that God in Christ
reconciled the world." The 1611 Bible reads "that God
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself/' Here
the changes are small and mainly of grammar and rhythm,
but again we see the fusing of the 1611 Bible going on as
In the final editing the last learned men, Smith and
Bilson, used the Bois words "perfecting holiness" in II
Corinthians 7:1. In the next verse they refused the Bois
phrasing, "we have made a gain of no man," in favor of
"we have wronged no man/' For 8:4 they took the whole
Downes reading, "that we would receive the gift, and
take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the
A near miss by Bois is in II Corinthians 9:5 where he
recommended, "as a bounty and not as a thing extorted."
The 1611 Bible reads "as a matter of bounty, and not
as of covetousness." The Revised Standard Version chose
"not as an exaction but as a willing gift," which is better,
and nearer Bois, than the 1611 wording.
Trying phrases for Galatians 4:15, Bois wrote: "What
is become then of the happiness that was ascribed unto
you, of your magnifying of yourselves, of thinking your-
selves happy for my sake, your happiness that is talked
of or spoken of?" Many a writer thus tried many phras-
ings. The reading finally adopted was "Where is then the
blessedness ye spake of?"
In Philippians Bois tendered for 1:19, "the bounty of
the Spirit." The final version reads "the supply of the
Spirit." For 1:21 he set down "life unto me is Christ, and
death an advantage." The king's Bible chose one-syllable
words: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." For
Philippians 2:20 Bois and AL suggested, "no man like
minded . . . who will truly be careful of your matters,
or careful from the heart." Andrew Downes, struggling
hard with Paul's Greek, made literal notes: "so dear unto
me, whom I love of my own soul/' The 1611 Bible says
with greater ease, "I have no man like-minded who will
naturally care for your state/'
For the well-known Philippians 3:14, Bois offered: "I
follow directly to the price (prize) of the high calling . . ."
and AL proposed, "I follow toward the mark for the price
(prize), . . ." We all know that the King James verse
reads, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Bois suggested for Philippians 3:20, "your city in
heaven" or "heaven for our city.'* This illustrates the
difficulty with connectives, lacking in the Greek text and
sometimes requiring a decision as to the meaning of a
phrase, a clause, or a sentence. Here the final King James
version is the phrase much used, "our conversation is in
heaven." To Elizabethans "conversation" meant much
more than talk; it was the action of living or having one's
being in and among. The Revised Standard Version has it
"our commonwealth is in heaven," which accedes some-
what to the Bois concept of "city."
In I Thessalonians 5:23, Downes proposed "that your
spirit may be kept perfect." The king's Bible has, "your
whole spirit ... be preserved blameless." The Revised
Standard Version says, "... be kept sound and blame-
"May be schooled not to blaspheme" was what Bois
offered for I Timothy 1:20. The king's Bible says, "that
they learn not to blaspheme"; this stresses learning where
Bois stressed teaching. Another rare passage in which the
meaning was changed in revision is II Timothy 2:5, for
which Downes recommended, "and though a man labor
for the best gain, try masteries . . . unless he strive and
labor lustily." The King James Bible says, "And if a man
also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he
strive lawfully." The Revised Standard has, "An athlete
is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules."
The word "strive" or "contend" is, in the Greek, the
word from which we get "athlete," one who strives in
the public lists. The passage is a demand that one follow
the rules of the game, but Downes missed the point that
the verse refers to a contest of athletes.
We may assume that the scriptural passages for which
Bois made no notes passed on to Smith and Bilson from
the first draft without much change. Yet we must not
suppose that the Bois notes preserved to us are more than
hints of all that he, Downes, and the other four worked
over; the forty pages of these notes are but a teasing frag-
ment. At the end, someone has written: "These notes were
taken by John Bois, one of the translators of the king's
Bible/' and added that they were "transcribed out of a
copy by some unskilled hand, very confused and faulty,
especially in the Greek." But the notes are not faulty in
Greek, only terse and stenographic. Perhaps the annotator
did not like Bois's ligatured Greek writing, which shortly
went out of style.
But are there any other such notes about the making of
a true world masterpiece? Why should these have sur-
vived when we have nothing comparable from Shake-
Commentators have pored over the only other material
evidence, available in another form that copy of the
Bishops' Bible which is cherished in the Bodleian Library,
with marginal notes for suggested changes inked in. Yet
the changes are not always those of the King James ver-
sion, and may have been those of an amateur working
independently with the zeal so widely felt. If they were
made by one of the Oxford translators it would be interest-
ing to see whether the phrases which differ from the final
version are among those discussed by Bois.
There are various interpretations of the nature of the
work done at Stationers' Hall and its importance to the
whole undertaking, especially with reference to the final
editing done by Miles Smith and Bishop Bilson. Read
carefully, the Bois notes show at least two things: first,
that at this stage the work was still subject to changes, and
second, that to the very end the learned men tried and
tried again, so that we can share the very creakings of their
thoughts. 3 Thus the notes which Bois "diligently kept
to his dying day" seem to warrant attention, although
apparently they have never been published.
Nor did the work of the Stationers' Hall men end with
the printing of the 1611 Bible. Minor revisions were made
after the first edition, having to do chiefly with uniform
usage of a different type face to distinguish the connective
words added to make better sense in English. John Bois
himself was concerned with such small revisions as late
as the Cambridge Revised Edition of 1638.
All these efforts with word meanings are of course labo-
rious and, in the case of Scripture, highly important.
Bois's biographer said, "Surely it will be easily granted
that a man of a pregnant fancy and ready invention may
sooner, and with more ease, write a leaf of his own than
he can examine a line, it may be a word, of a decayed,
crabbed author, or a dark manuscript which perchance
cannot be done without perusing twenty more." Bois it
was whose father taught him Hebrew at a tender age; his
mother, a bluestocking of her period, had read the Bible
through twelve times, presumably in the Geneva version.
This sort of patience and piety the men at Stationers'
Hall had and needed.
Yet their notes are evidence only of the essential spade-
work, the digging away at roots to lay a firm foundation.
We still have no sure answer for that final choice and
8 Dr. Frederick C. Grant of Union Theological Seminary, New York, upon
seeing the notes, observed a parallel with his own experience in work on
the Revised Standard Version: "The King James translators faced many
problems that we did or rather, we faced those which they faced, long
ago. One can almost hear the committee at work."
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CHAPTER 1 2
The Final Touches
A story goes that someone put all those commas and
colons into the King James Bible, and made the verse
and chapter divisions, while riding horseback. If there
is any truth in it, the guilty man may have been Dr. Miles
Smith, who used to keep at work even on journeys, jogging
along on a jennet. Many a stop breaks up a long, loping
verse at random.
One comma in Isaiah 9:6 has enjoyed especial fame:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and
the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." As we
read that, we can hear the music of Handel's Messiah.
It is splendid verse in groups of balanced words. But
the comma does not belong between "Wonderful" and
And his name shall be called
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Alas, if we leave out the comma, we lose that wondrous
pause in The Messiah between the two words!
Music meant less in the England of James than in the
England of Elizabeth, and Handel had yet to come. But
music was in the air around, and the rhythms of the King
James version are such that, whether or not the verses are
set to music, most people seem to recognize that they are
poetry. Somewhere, somehow, in the process of transla-
tion the prosaic, labored definitions of the original trans-
lators and later of Downes and Bois were arranged in
rhythms that were to last.
As an example of how this was done, consider that one
verse in the brilliant I Corinthians 13 received from Bois
five painstaking readings. For verse 11 he proposed "I
understood, I cared as a child, I had a child's mind, I
imagined as a child, I was affected as a child/' The King
James Bible says, in words that have become fixed for
us with a gravely swinging rhythm, "I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child." Would the
"imagined as a child" offered by Downes suffice instead
of "understood as a child'? The rhythm is much the same.
Many have discussed the use, in I Corinthians 13, of
the word "charity" for the Greek agape. We have no light
on how the learned men came to prefer this word to the
word 'love" which appears in some older versions. The
Bishops' Bible, before that of Geneva, used "charity."
Taste has shifted back and forth between the words in
that fine chapter of Paul, and will doubtless shift again
as the overtones of definition change. But if we can, as
we read I Corinthians, divest the word "charity" of rather
smug later meanings, we can sense a fitness in its rhythm.
Rhythm in the days of King James was important not
merely as a source of pleasure to the ear, but as an aid
to the mind. Generations to come would learn to read by
puzzling out verses in the Bible that for many families
would be a whole library. But at the time of translation,
a Bible "appointed to be read in churches" was made to
be listened to and remembered. Its rhythms were impor-
tant as a prompting for memory. For that reason, in the
words of their own Bible, it is evident that the learned
men learned to use their ears as they worked "the ear
trieth words as the mouth tasteth meat."
There were other tests which the Bible editors used.
They remembered that their purpose was to make an
English translation, and though many of them could think
in the ancient tongues, their King James Bible is indeed
English, A striking instance is the word "righteous," which
comes from the older English Bibles, and means right-
wise. The Lord our righteousness is the Lord our right-
wiseness, a profound meaning which is but faintly in the
Hebrew and the Greek. Thus in many cases the English
added content as well as form. But the English words as
such were preferred. This led naturally to approval of a
large proportion of the Tyndale translation in preference
to the Bishops' Bible recommended in the royal directive.
The simple, straightforward words of Tyndale appealed
to the 1611 editors as they do to us today, so that his New
Testament and Pentateuch have come down almost intact,
except for minor changes. In the choice of phrasings from
Stationers' Hall a similar standard prevailed.
Thus, chapter 2:15, of II Timothy in the 1611 Bible
is, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word
of truth." Bois offered three choices: "a faithful laborer,
a constant laborer, a laborer not ashamed of his work."
The last editors preferred the English word "workman"
to the Latin "laborer."
The date of the English words used also was considered.
For Titus 2:10 Bois gave a vivid term, "no filchers," which
was changed to "not purloining." "To filch" dates from
1561 and was early Elizabethan slang, whereas "to pur-
loin" dates from 1440 and must have seemed more proper
for Holy Scriptures. The King James Bible includes few
words that were novel in 1611.
For Titus 3 : 8, Bois, who seems sometimes to have been
a bit earthy, said "be careful to exercise themselves in
honest trades." The 1611 Bible says, "be careful to main-
tain good works/' Andrew Downes suggested, for verse
14, "to profess, to practice honest trades." The published
verse reads, "learn to maintain good works for necessary
uses." These readings suggest that the final editors dis-
liked the word "trades." Yet they could be businesslike.
When for verse 17 of Philemon, Bois tendered "If thou
thinkest all things common between us, if mine be thine
and thine mine," Smith and Bilson approved the prosy
"If thou count me therefore a partner."
Beyond thought and skill in the choice of words, and
beyond even the rhythmic patterns that make poetry, the
learned men had to think of meaning. At about this time
Francis Bacon, Lancelot Andrewes' friend, was warning:
"Whereas the meaning ought to govern the term, the
term in effect governeth the meaning." An important duty
of the translators was to see that this did not happen. But
this required agreement on meaning if not "mine thine
and thine mine, with all things common between us,"
then at least a working partnership. For the six linguists
at Stationers' Hall this must have been easier than for
the many men of varying views in the colleges and at
Westminster. But the doctrinal implications of the words
they dealt with must have occasioned many discussions
during the nine months.
Perhaps it was no accident that the two final editors
differed in their views, for thus they could best represent
the whole group of translators and, indeed, the readers
for whom all worked. Of the two, Miles Smith was not
unfriendly to the Puritan point of view and in after years
acted a good deal in accord with it. Bishop Bilson was a
dullish, dogged churchman; yet the two balanced each
other and represented their times.
About the basic issues they could agree. As a whole
their great work was of course Protestant, against the
Church of Rome, which was even then, at Douay In
France, publishing its own revised Old Testament in
English. Its translators were mostly expatriate Catholics
from Oxford, one of them John Rainolds' brother Wil-
liam. On September 7, 1608, the leading English Catholic,
Birkhead, wrote a letter to Dr. Thomas Worthington,
president of Douay College. Birkhead, who for safety
signed with an alias, George Lamb ton, said "I am glad
the Bible is so forward/' The complete Douay Bible came
out in 1610, a year ahead of the King James version.
The Douay Bible often has its sturdy charm. Yet it
differs remarkably from the King James Bible. In Psalm
23 it reads, ''Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and
my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly it is!" Psalm
91 begins, "He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High
shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob."
Verse 13 says "Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the
basilisk." Isaiah 61:1 starts, ''Arise, be enlightened, O
Jerusalem." At places it seems almost as if the Roman and
the King James Bibles had determined to make their
words differ as much as they could, to show that their
standpoints were poles apart.
Fortunately for their text, the King James men were
in somewhat better agreement, yet they differed to the
end. Miles Smith, as final editor, protested that after he
and Bilson had finished, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen
more changes. "He is so potent there is no contradicting
him/' said Smith, and cited as an example of Bancroft's
bias his insistence on using "the glorious word bishopric"
even for Judas, in Acts 1:20: "His bishopric let another
The fact that Smith was the one to protest Bancroft's
amendments suggests that he stood against both Bilson
and Bancroft in such matters as the importance of bishop-
rics. Yet there is some reason to believe that if he stood
alone, Smith was more than a match for his associates. He
was admitted to be a modest man yet a hard worker, and
these combined traits could have given him the oppor-
tunity to do a great deal to the work about which he had
except for possible interference from Bilson or Ban-
croft the final say.
While others among the translators won praise for pul-
pit eloquence or strength in argument, there is evidence
that Smith could write directly and to the point. Besides
his sermons, which reveal too little of his real talents,
we have the preface that he wrote for the Bible. Regret-
tably, those who publish the 1611 Bible now as a rule
leave it out. It remains a good piece of writing, well worth
reading for what it says as well as an example of what
Miles Smith could do with words.
The whole task of translation could hardly be better
described than in Smith's terse statement of purpose, "to
deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which
they understand." This talent for summarizing, for cutting
through verbiage to say what was meant with force and the
fewest possible words, was exactly what must have been
needed at this stage of the work, and it was a talent Smith
had. He also had the imagination to grasp a meaning
not immediately obvious, and make it clear, as when he
quoted St. Augustine's "A man would rather be with his
dog than with a stranger," and explained the stranger
as one "whose tongue is strange unto him/' Finally, the
very structure of his sentences as well as their content
proves that Smith had energy and determination, what
he described in a phrase to find an echo in the American
Constitution as "zeal to promote the common good."
Again and again the final version shortens or changes
the careful phrasing of Stationers' Hall to one of the
memorable homely phrases of the King James version.
Thus for Hebrews 4: 15, where Andrew Downes suggested,
"such an one as had experience of all things," the final
reading became, "in all points tempted like as we are."
When for Hebrews 6:6 Bois offered, "caused him to be
had in derision, or traduced him," the king's Bible says,
"put him to an open shame."
For a famous verse, Hebrews 11:1, Bois put down,
"Faith is a most sure warrant of things, is a being of things
hoped for, a discovery, a demonstration of things that are
not seen." This became, "Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Sometimes the considerations of rhythm, sound of let-
ters, and homely English were combined in the changes.
Thus for Hebrews 11:3, "Things which are seen were
not made of things which do appear," replaced Bois's
phrase "made of things that were not extant." Perhaps
the word "extant" sounded fancy, and also the three t's
are unattractive. Later in the same chapter, however, the
final editing slipped into heavy alliteration in the phrase
of verse 26, "he had respect unto the recompense of the
reward." Bois had written only, "He looked at the re-
ward to be rendered," and the Revised Standard Version
prefers Bois, saying simply, "he looked to the reward."
The learned men who finished the work had great skill
with the little words that connect the main words. They
used them to give swing to their phrases. Many have
remarked on their taste with short words, on how they
made them pliant. About this they knew much more than
those who had dealt with the English Bible before them.
They tried their best to have their words fitly joined.
Now and then as they smoothed the Bois phrases they
made a real change in meaning, as when the Bois phrase
for Hebrews 12:2, "the leader and finisher of our faith,"
became "the author and finisher of our faith." But mainly
the editing supplied more direct sentence structure and
subtler groupings and rhythms. When Bois suggested for
Hebrews 12:12, "lift up your slack hands and feeble or
shaking knees," the finished Bible reads "lift up the
hands which hang down, and the feeble knees." When
in chapter 13:8 Bols put down, ''yesterday and today the
same and forever/' we have from a hearing ear, "the same
yesterday and today and forever/' For Bois's phrase in
verse 21, "disposing of you, or working with you as it
please th him," the final reading is "working in you that
which is well-pleasing in his sight."
Now and then a phrase with original meaning based
on a simile proved untranslatable, as when in James 1:5
Bois's literal rendering of the Greek, "twitting or hitting
in the teeth" with a sense of casting in the teeth became
"upbraideth not." Similarly in James 2:10, Bois's verb
"trip/' rendering a Greek verb meaning to fall down, be-
came "offend in one point" of the law. But when for
verse 8 of the first chapter Bois said "a wavering man,"
final editing supplied a more concrete image: "a double-
Occasionally different words were chosen to avoid rep-
etition. For I Peter 3:14 Bois said, "fear not their fear, nor
be troubled," and AL suggested "be not afraid of their
fear." The final version reads, "be not afraid of their
terror, neither be troubled." Such changes make appro-
priate the verse in II Peter i : 19 for which Bois wrote "and
(hereby) we have the word," and AL said, "and hereby
the speeches of the prophets are more confirmed unto
us, are made of greater credit unto us, a more firm speech,
etc." The edited reading is, "We have also a more sure
word of prophecy."
For the complexities of Revelation, Bois really exerted
himself. Thus for 7:15 he proposed, "He shall pitch his
tent over them, he shall protect them, he shall dwell with
them, he shall rest upon them, he shall rule over them,"
and in a note he added one more reading, "He shall
stretch his pavilion over them." The approved reading
adapted Bois's third and simplest reading, "He shall dwell
among them." For chapter 19:9, AL translated "These
true sayings are of God." For the king's Bible, the master
rhythmists changed this to "These are the true sayings of
The final editors had also to supply punctuation and
decide questions of grammar, unless they were able to
find helpers for the work which today would be called
"copy editing." Some points of grammar in the King James
Bible have bothered readers more than they did the men
of 1611, who like the Elizabethans wrote with the freedom
of a language still more or less fluid. What to Christians
is perhaps the greatest question of all time reads ungram-
matically, in Matthew 16:13, "Whom do men say that I,
the Son of man, am?" English grammar has never been
static; then as always it was growing and the use of pro-
nouns was changing. "It is me" is today accepted by many
experts in grammar, and here me is a usage comparable
to the whom. With their feeling for sound, it is possible
that the translators considered it far less objectionable
than "Who do ... ?"
Some other points of grammar in the King James Bible
require us simply to forbear in adverse judgment. Eliza-
bethan grammar has a charm of its own, even when a
wrong pronoun gives a comic effect; in I Kings 13:27, the
1611 Bible says, "And he spake unto his sons, saying,
Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him." The "him"
is in italics to indicate that it is not in the original He-
brew, so there can be no argument when subsequent
versions change "him" to "it."
Whether Smith and Bilson attended only to the final
details of publishing scripts that were nearly complete
except for disputed passages worked over at Stationers'
Hall, or whether they are to be credited with a final
editing that made the King James version into literature,
cannot be decided from the data now at hand. From the
first there were among the translators, as we have seen,
men hailed in their own time as masters of language,
sweet preachers, persuasive, and of a pretty wit. Rainolds,
Andrewes, Savile, Layfield, Bing any of these, and sev-
eral others, might well have contributed chapters so well
turned as to require no rewriting. The difficulty is that,
to a modern reader, the thought occurs that nothing in
all their many volumes of sermons and other writing
seems to march with the Bible cadence quite as does the
prefatory address to the reader written by Miles Smith.
On this similarity (which does not extend to his sermons)
must rest any case for saying that Smith brought to the
final editing its real inspiration.
The 1611 Bible had also to be prefaced by an address to
the king. We do not know who addressed James as "Your
majesty . . . the principal Mover and Author of the
work." The task of this writing would have been con-
sidered an honor, and must have been one congenial to
Bishop Bilson, perhaps with help from Bancroft. In his
preface to the reader, which even contained a polite refer-
ence to Bishop Bancroft, Miles Smith said simply and
fairly: "And what can the King command to be done,
that will bring him more true honor than this?"
The ^Bible ^Printed
There was no competition for the job of printing the new
Bible. It went to Robert Barker, the royal printer, who
also published it. His father, Christopher Barker, had
received from Queen Elizabeth the sole right to print
English Bibles, books of common prayer, statutes, and
proclamations. On the death of Christopher Barker in
1599 the queen had given to his son, Robert Barker, the
office of Queen's Printer for life with the same monopoly.
The Barkers and their heirs were to keep their right to
publish the King James Bible for a hundred years. 1
Also from the Crown, Robert Barker had received in
1603 a lease on the manor of Upton, near Windsor, for
twenty years at a rental of twenty pounds a year. Both
father and son lived in London at Bacon House in Noble
Street, Aldersgate. Their printing shop was nearby in St.
Paul's churchyard at the sign of the Tiger's Head, a device
on the arms of Sir Francis Walsingham, the friend of the
Puritans. Thus we may assume that the Barkers shared
in the Puritan trend.
For the new Bible Robert Barker laid out 3500, a
large sum even for the royal printer. He appears to have
obtained a new cast type, boldface for the text, with
lighter Roman letters for the words which have no coun-
1 It was Barker who in 1631 printed the so-called "Wicked Bible" with
the error which omitted not from the seventh commandment.
terpart in the ancient-language texts but which the learned
men had to insert for making sense in English. (In modern
editions such words are printed in italic type.) The en-
graved title page shows Moses and Aaron standing in
niches with the seated figures of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John at the corners. This is signed C. Boel Cornelius
Boel, an Antwerp artist. Alas, this 1611 Bible omitted
the full-page Garden of Eden, with all the fierce and
harmless creatures lying around, that was in the Bishops'
Bible. However, the whole is a handsome, well-printed
folio. The linen and rag paper, after more than three
hundred years, is tough and pleasant to look at and to
touch. The first issue is today as easy to read as ever,
though the type face, of course, is antiquated.
Of the actual printing we know nothing. Who were
the humble printers, the craftsmen? Who read the proof?
How long did the great process take? What was the selling
price? There were two printings of the new Bible in 1611.
How many copies were there of each issue? These are
questions for which others may sometime find answers.
We do know that Miles Smith and Thomas Bilson,
Bishop of Winchester, saw the volume through the press.
Conceivably they read proofs. The handwritten copy from
which the printers worked remained in Barker's posses-
sion, though there were complaints against his keeping
it. In time it vanished.
There were, of course, mistakes made by the printers,
averaging about one in ten pages. The first folio was
known as the "He" Bible from a confusion of pronouns
in Ruth 3:15, which made the verse end "and he went
into the city." Corrected, the second folio became the
What of the first copies off the press? Did Miles Smith
and any or all of the other translators get a free copy of
the new Bible? Did they or their churches have to buy
We may even ask, did Smith have a copy at hand to
use? Let us look at some of his sermons, published in
1633, after his death. It is not certain when the sermons
were composed but it seems likely that most of them were
delivered after 1612. Some of them he may have written
while the 1611 Bible was in progress. We would expect
that he, of all men, would quote from the work to which
he gave his skill.
However, when he preached on Jeremiah 9:23, 24, the
wording of his text differed at two points from that of
the King James Bible. Smith said: "Let not the wise man
glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his
strength, neither the rich man glory in his riches; but let
him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and
knoweth me." The 1611 Bible used mighty and might
for strong and strength, and there are other, slighter
When Smith quoted Zechariah 1:5, 6, he also used an
older version: "Your fathers, where are they? And do the
prophets live for ever? But did not my words and my
statutes, which I commanded by my servants the prophets,
take hold of your fathers?" Here the King James trans-
lators changed the order of the phrases.
For his sermon on Jeremiah 6:16 Smith used the exact
words of the King James Bible: "Thus saith the Lord,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths,
where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall
find rest for your souls." But he shortened and simplified
Ecclesiastes 10:1, saying, "Dead flies corrupt the ointment
of the apothecary," where the 1611 wording is, "Dead
flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a
Not only Smith but Lancelot Andrewes and many of
the other translators continued to refer to older versions
for a long time. Dr. Andrewes, now Bishop of Ely, was
still using an old Bible on November i, 1617. Preaching
before the king at Whitehall, he took his text Isaiah
37:3, "The children were come to birth, and there was
no strength to deliver them" from another Bible than
the one on which he had labored. He quoted an old phras-
ing of Deuteronomy 33:17, "With these thou shalt strike
thine enemies, and push them as any wild beast." For
Hebrews 12:14 he used, "Without^ holiness shall no man
ever see God," a reading only a little off the King James.
However, when he referred to Ezekiel 33:32, he really
let himself go: "But all hearing (as Ezekiel complaineth)
a sermon preached no otherwise than we do a ballad
sung." EzekieFs complaint in the 1611 Bible is far from
that. From Revelation 14:11 Andrewes spoke of "the lake
of fire and brimstone, the smoke of which shall ascend for
ever more," which again is hardly a quotation.
Familiarity with the ancient texts seems to have given
the translators what they regarded as a license for private
interpretation; perhaps they thought in another tongue
and translated as they spoke. This had long been customary
with a clergy that was, as Smith said in his preface, "exer-
cised almost from our very cradle" in Latin. And now,
for the task just accomplished, they had steeped themselves
in Hebrew and Greek.
But how soon did preachers begin to quote from the
new version? We may say fairly that the King James Bible
was in some sense a success from the start, going quickly
from the two folio editions into smaller quarto and
octavo sizes; yet it caught on slowly. It appears that at
first both clergy and laymen found fault with the product
of the learned men. Once, for instance, Dr. Richard Kilby,
the translator in the Old Testament group at Oxford,
heard a young parson complain in an earnest sermon that
a certain passage should read in a way he stated. After the
sermon Dr. Kilby took the young man aside and told him
that the group had discussed at length not only his pro-
posed reading but thirteen others; only then had they
decided on the phrasing as it appeared.
Did other writers of the James I reign adopt the new
Bible quickly? Robert Burton published his Anatomy of
Melancholy in 1621, after toiling on it for years in his
happy study at Christ Church, Oxford. As far as is dis-
coverable, he never used the 1611 Bible, though he lived
among some of the chief translators and had come to
Christ Church through the efforts of Leonard Hutton,
later a translator, then canon there. Thus Burton quoted
Romans 1:21, 22: "They were vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was full of darkness. When they
professed themselves wise, they became fools." The 1611
changes in these verses are minor but important to the
style. For Job 4:18, he wrote on the same page: "Behold,
he found no steadfastness in his servants, and laid folly
upon his angels." Compare with the King James verse:
"Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels
he charged with folly." Clearly Burton was working with
older Bibles, without getting around to the new version.
Just as clearly, the King James reading, with its balanced
rhythm, is the better.
Dr. John Donne, today thought of as poet rather than
as preacher, seems to have used the King James version
irregularly. In the recent edition of his sermons the first
is that preached on April 30, 1615, at Greenwich, on
Isaiah 52:13, which is taken from the 1611 Bible. Later
in this sermon he quoted, from an early Bible, Isaiah
55:1: "Ho every one that thirsteth come to the waters,
and ye that have no silver, come, buy and eat: come, I say,
buy wine and milk, without silver and without money."
At Paul's Cross, March 24, 1617, he made, so one wrote
in a letter, "a dainty sermon." It lasted two and a half
hours! There his text, Proverbs 22:11, was from the 1611
version. The now lofty translator, Archbishop Abbot, was
Before the king at Whitehall, April 12, 1618, Donne
quoted Job 1:1 from some early Bible: "There was a man
in the land of Huz, called Job, an upright and just man
that feared God/' At the height of his powers, Christmas
Day, 1626, he preached at St. Paul's on Luke 2:29, 30,
using the King James phrasing. There however he cited
Isaiah 62:1 from an early Bible: "Oh that thou wouldst
rend the heavens and come down/' It was in this sermon
that he said, "When my soul prays without any voice, my
very body is then a temple/' More and more he now
seemed to use the 1611 Bible, for at St. Paul's on Whitsun-
day, 1627, though he shortened Acts 2:1-4, he gave
virtually the King James wording.
How much did the King James Bible impress itself
on the Plymouth Pilgrims? Three of their preachers,
though they never came to Plymouth, were Henry Ains-
worth, Henry Jacob, and John Robinson. There is al-
most nothing to show that any of them ever used the King
Those who cut themselves off from the English Church
often chose to divorce themselves from the Church Scrip-
tures too, and to use a Bible less tainted, as it seemed to
them e.g., the Geneva or to make their own trans-
lations, if they were capable of it. Thus Ainsworth
rendered some of the Scriptures in his own way while
the king's translators were working. His Psalm 23 is
worth giving here. "Jehovah feedeth me, I shall not lack.
In folds of budding grass he maketh me to lie down; he
easily leadeth me by the waters of rests. He returneth my
soul; he leadeth me in the beaten paths of justice, for
his name sake. Yea, though I should walk in the valley
of the shade of death, I will not fear evil, for thou wilt
be with me, thy rod and thy staff they shall comfort me.
Thou furnishest before me a table in presence of rny dis-
tresses; thou makest fat my head with oil; my cup is
abundant. Doubtless good and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life; and I shall converse in the house
of Jehovah to length of days." This was Psalm 23 as for
many years the Pilgrims knew it. They had and preferred
all the Psalms in Ainsworth's somewhat roughened prose.
Elder William Brewster, when he died in 1644, left some
of Ainsworth's books.
Henry Jacob, while in England, engaged in an intense
conflict with the translator Thomas Bilson, Bishop of
Winchester. Bilson he charged with "equivocation" and
"most impertinent, ambiguous and uncertain writing/'
The origin of the dispute is obscure, but much of it was
about bishops and their supposed functions. Jacob quoted
Bilson as saying, "The kingdom and throne which Christ
reserved for himself far passeth directing and ordering
on outward things in the church which he hath left to
others." Countering, Jacob said, "Nay sure, he hath not
left it to others. He still reserveth this authority and
dignity to himself under the gospel as well as he did under
the law." To put it bluntly, how Christ governs the
church must depend, so it seemed to Jacob, on what the
local church, its pastor and its people decide is his will
good Congregational doctrine. We could hardly expect
this kindly but determined rebel to lean on the 1611
Bible, which Bishop Bilson had helped keep within the
fixed framework of the Church. On John 10:5 Jacob said
with feeling, "His sheep hear his voice; a stranger's
voice they will flee from." He spoke at the synod of Dort
which discussed the new Bible. A few years later, about
1622, Jacob crossed the ocean to Virginia and started a
pastorate of his own.
John Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrims at Leyden, and
a friend of the Puritan translator Laurence Chaderton,
was citing older Scriptures as late as 1625. Thus for
Psalm 41:2 he gave, "O blessed Is he that prudently at-
tendeth the poor weakling/' which is far from the King
James rendering. For I Timothy 3:15 he offered, "that
he might know how to converse in the church of God/*
(To converse, remember, meant to behave.) From Robin-
son's sometimes piquant writings, which include many
verses from the old Bibles, we get the picture of a beloved
The Pilgrims, among them remnants of the Brownists,
were almost as much against the Puritans as they were
against the high churchmen and the papists. So they were
slow, it appears, to accept the King James Bible, put out
by those who had harassed them. In the long run the
1611 Bible, because of its stature, triumphed with the
Pilgrims as with their old foes, except those in the Church
of Rome, and to it they referred all details of daily living.
In England too, acceptance of the new Bible was to
depend on the climate of controversy. That was changing,
and eventually the King James version would become a
frame of reference to be cited as authority. But at the
start it partook of the personal controversies and asso-
ciations of the translators themselves, and so roused op-
position. The old Arminian bitterness was not forgotten,
though now, under Bancroft, the state Church had been
leaning somewhat toward Arminian doctrines. The be-
liefs of Calvin that God had destined all events, great and
small, were giving way a little to the belief that God
destined only in part, with good works of value along
with the faith of the elect. It was argued that Calvin's
predestination, so valuable to the Puritans because it freed
man from the tyranny of Rome, made God the author of
sin and gave false security to those who believed them-
selves the elect. Besides "Dutch" Thomson, many of the
translators, among them Overall, Bois, and Richardson,
were counted on the Arminian side. Laurence Chaderton
and young Samuel Ward were of the opposition and
Bishop Abbot stood firmly opposed; no Arminian could
ever appease him. But the king, who spoke out against
Arminians abroad, endured them and was even pleasant
to them at home. A joke of the time asked, What do the
Arminians hold? The answer was, they hold the best
deaneries and bishoprics in England.
Other dissenters still had their troubles. From the Arian
heresy evolved, after a long time, the Unitarians. Yet
the Church felt it must kill the first of these heretics to
speak out in the time of James, without objection from
the king, who had promised no bloodshed over religion.
Bartholomew Legate, already mentioned, was one who
believed that Jesus was a mere man, that there was no
virgin birth, no Incarnation. When he preached this
belief, both George Abbot and Lancelot Andrewes of
the translators approved his sentence to death. Abbot
indeed wrote a letter to Lord Ellesmere, the Lord Chancel-
lor, saying that the king "did not much desire that the
Lord Coke should be called" to the trial., "lest by his
singularity in opinion he should give stay to the business."
There was no stay; the trial moved to its ruthless end.
In Smithfield Market on March 18, 1611, at the urging
of Andrewes, Abbot, and other firmly irate divines, the
king's agents burned Bartholomew Legate at the stake.
A few days later on March 24, the seventh anniversary
of James's accession, Andrewes now Bishop of Ely
preached before the king at Whitehall. Through times
that had been enough to disturb him to the utmost, he
had kept his pious bearing. His text was Psalm 118:22-24,
"This is the Lord's day; it is marvelous in our eyes'*
a verse he had used previously for thanksgiving after dis-
covery of the Guy Fawkes plot. "This stone is the head,"
Andrewes declared, meaning the king, "made by God."
Words spoken in hope, surely, for the last few months
must have been for Andrewes a time of most earnest
prayer and legitimate expectation.
Before Christmas the great bell at St. Paul's had tolled
the news that the see of Canterbury was once more vacant.
Richard Bancroft died November 10, 1610, before he
could hold in his hands the printed Bible he had first
opposed at Hampton Court, then had taken under his
charge to please the king. Many of the clergy and the
people thought with pleasure that at last Lancelot An-
drewes, who had a living odor of sainthood, would rise to
Ever since the death of Archbishop Whitgift in 1604
and the choice of Bancroft for the great place, Andrewes
must have worked with quiet hope in his sermons, in all
his acts during those years, and his patient work on the
Bible. Though John Bois, Miles Smith, and many others
had worked harder on the translation than Andrewes,
they were minor figures in the Church, compared with
him. The supreme gift of the king could rightly reward
his faith and good works as a prelate. Among God's
elect he clearly deserved the chief crown of the righteous
or rightly wise, and a long life of power.
King James delayed. True, Andrewes was among the
highest of the high churchmen, and had many potent
friends. The king loved his preaching. But on the other
hand James, a Scotsman, thought of the Scots. On October
21, 1610, Lancelot Andrewes, George Abbot, and two
other bishops had consecrated in the chapel of a London
house three bishops of Scotland, the first thus to receive
holy sanction from the Church of England. Bishop Abbot
had wholly sympathized with the king's haste to see the
Scottish Church established, which he understood as clearly
as he had understood the royal desire for a speedy end to
Bartholomew Legate. In Legate's burning Andrewes had
concurred, but now he balked somewhat at the royal
will. The difficulty was that the new Scottish prelates were
men of low degree in the Church, as none were eligible
for such advancement. Abbot, a practical man, saw no
harm in their rapid elevation. But Lancelot Andrewes,
though he participated in the ceremony, let it be known
that he felt it to be unseemly.
Now there were months of suspense about Andrewes'
own advancement, during which he must have composed
some of his most fervent daily prayers. Translated from
the Latin he used, these private devotions exist today
in his published works.
At length on March 18, just before the burning of
Bartholomew Legate, the king made his choice. To suc-
ceed Richard Bancroft he picked a man whom none had
backed in the open not the learned Bishop of Ely, but
the Bishop of London, prosy George Abbot. Abbot him-
self said that he was wonder-struck.
George Abbot thus arrived at enough success for any-
one. On his knees in sincere thankfulness for he cannot
have taken seriously the story about his mother and the
pike he must have been sure that God and the word of
God, newly rendered, had impelled him on to the goal.
Installed by proxy May 16, 1611, a month after he had
begun to live at Lambeth, Archbishop Abbot threw him-
self with vigor into the varied doings of his office. While
his preferment amazed and depressed the Anglicans, the
Puritans, to whom he was friendly, tried to conceal their
happy hopes. At the court the king was cordial, and even
the queen, though in secret a papist with no use for him,
deigned to speak to him with a polite show. Soon he took
his seat on the privy council. James desired him to be
lavish with social life at Lambeth Palace. His income from
the Church made him one of the richest men in England,
able to live in grandeur amid the music, the colors, the
forms which the best English talent contrived. Within
his realm he could command service proper for his high
estate, could exert power and enjoy feeling power, in
designs that he had long craved as the most noble on earth.
In his day this sullen translator with a Puritan bent, now
the highest prelate in Great Britain, had become the
most famous of all the learned men.
The new archbishop was honest and a hard worker.
He tended to be a low churchman where Lancelot An-
drewes, that more gracious translator, would have been
high, and where James himself might have preferred
stricter forms. An odd man to follow Richard Bancroft,
Abbot felt bound to lead, and he did have some measure
of leadership in his narrow, crabbed make-up. Yet one
of his lacks was that he had never held a post in which
he had to concern himself with the care of souls. Out of
touch with the common people, he was often tactless
and stupid. With little zeal for or skill in preaching, he
was born just to have views, to manage, and to command.
He was a great one to reprove, and though tender to the
scruples of the Puritans, he maintained that all should
comply with the forms of worship enjoined by the law
of the land. With all his scowls he was deeply pious and
never flinched in his duty, which he knew to be a light
to guide and a rod to check the erring.
Abbot's gain of the highest church post and Legate's
loss of his life marked the year of publication of the King
James Bible, and characterized the England that received
it. Abbot's elevation probably helped the new version
along, as Andrewes' would have done. Legate's fate sug-
gests that it was needed. And Miles Smith's preface, though
he began like an Elizabethan playwright with an apology
to the reader, really meant not to apologize but to reprove
the world he addressed.
"Zeal to promote the common good," Smith began,
"whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising
that which hath been labored by others, deserveth cer-
tainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold
entertainment in the world." (Note the use of "devising"
and "revising" in the manner of Lyly.) "It is welcomed
with suspicion instead of with love. . . . For was there
ever any thing projected, that savored any way of newness
or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gain-
saying, or opposition? A man would think that civility,
wholesome laws, learning and eloquence, synods and
church maintenance (that we speak of no more things of
this kind) should be as safe as a sanctuary, and out of
shot, as they say, that no man would lift up the heel, no,
nor dog move his tongue against the motioners of them/'
Yet, rather, Smith went on, "He that meddleth with men's
religion in any part meddleth with their custom, nay,
with their freehold: and though they can find no content
in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear
of any altering. . . ."
And so, at the end of the great Bible task, Smith sadly
but bravely anticipated opposition. "If we will be sons of
the truth, we must consider that it speaketh, and trample
upon our own credit, yea, and upon other men's too,
if either be in any way a hindrance."
Happily, the royal command at Hampton Court could
give the new version enough prestige to insure its adop-
tion, in time, by all the churchmen loyal to the Crown.
Other authorization there was none, although like the
Bishops' Bible of 1585 the new Bible called itself "Author-
ized" and "Appointed to be read in churches." How that
came about is uncertain; perhaps the phrase was merely
picked up from the old title page. And so, although
there is no record that Abbot, Bancroft before him, or
any with power to do so ever "authorized" the King
James Bible, people speak of it as the Authorized Version.
Although the new Bible could supplant the Bishops'
Bible in the churches (the latter was not reprinted after
1611), it was at first too big a volume for daily household
use. It could spread widely among the people only when,
in the octavo edition of 1612, it became small enough to
be read by the fireside, held in the hand instead of rest-
ing on a table. For fires were still used for lights in Eng-
lish cottages, as well as for burning dissenters in the market
More, people such people as thronged Smithfield to
watch Bartholomew Legate burned had to learn to read.
Presumably the first common people to read the new
Bible were the nameless workers in Robert Barker's print
shop who put it through the press. There, at the sign of
the Tiger's Head, they ably abetted the men who were
learned in tongues. All wrought with their minds and
their hands to perfect for us the work, approved unto
God, rightly setting forth the word of truth.
Rewards and Sequels
All o the learned men, each in his degree, had some
worldly success. What writers of the age outside the Church
could be certain of plenty to live on? God supplied His
own with what they needed. In that faith, the learned men
were secure as they sought their stipends from those in
charge of sacred administration. On the whole they lived
in sedate order, fitting for their weighty work.
Giles Thomson, for instance, who had been Dean of
Windsor, became Bishop of Gloucester in 1611 before
the Bible came out. But he never got even to visit his
see; within a year he died.
On September 20, 1616, Miles Smith succeeded Thom-
son as Bishop of Gloucester, being ordained to that office
at Croydon, then just outside London but now part of
the city. Archbishop Abbot must have had much to do
with this reward for Miles Smith, which was, they said,
mainly for his writing the preface to the improved Bible.
Gloucester is in the west of England, farther from
London than many other sees. It was, one might think,
a sort of safe refuge. The church needed repairs, which
Smith was slow in making. One of his chief concerns was
to keep the table for the Lord's Supper lengthwise in the
nave, instead of crosswise before the altar; for the latter
arrangement was seen as a symbol stressing the real pres-
ence, the belief that the body and blood of Christ Jesus
are in the bread and wine, a concept from which the
Puritans shied away. We can understand why people
contended about the placing of the table only as we see
that the Puritans deemed the doctrine of the real presence
popish and were staunchly against it. The High Church
of England, on the other hand, wished in many ways to
approach the Church of Rome and yet remain itself.
At Westminster Abbey, Archbishop Abbot was making
changes that seemed Puritan. He refused bowing at the
altar and at the name of Christ. The choir, the organ, and
the cope went slowly into disuse. The whole service was
now so simple that it could have pleased Calvin. Prelates
verging on the Puritan, such as Abbot and Smith, doubted
the need for bishops, and yet were eager enough to be
bishops themselves. There were many rumbles before
the lashing storm to come. If the Puritans were gaining
strength, so was the High Church of England.
Soon a rising man named William Laud became Dean
of Gloucester, determined to oppose each Puritan practice
of Bishop Smith. Others than Abbot must have advised
the king to send Laud there. In 1616 Laud, always ruth-
less, went straight against the dictates of Smith, put the
table again before the altar, restored the cope and the
bowings, and made the service at Gloucester high enough
to express his almost popish aims. As dean, he had power
to order all this. Abbot and Smith both despised Laud
and his changes, which restored the dearest trappings
of priesthood. However, as Laud had the ear of the king,
formal counter orders would have been highly unwise.
Bishop Smith left the great church buildings in dudgeon,
and declared that he would stay away until Laud removed
the hated symbols. The town was in an uproar. Most of
the people were for Bishop Smith. They met and marched
in the streets, in effect picketing Laud and what was to
them wicked nonsense. Yet the ascent of Laud was rapid
and sure. The people and their bishop in due course had
to give up their revolt, which now appeared hopeless.
They suppressed their outward disdain, because the
Church was still theirs to love. It might have been some
comfort to them i they could have known, as we know
today, how Laud was at length to fall.
Just now in Gloucester any prospect of his fall was
remote. Miles Smith, who was getting on in years, had
to smother much of his chagrin. Through his trials, his
sermons show, his own virtue gave him a secret gladness.
His joy that he was a Puritan, and therefore right, no
man could take from him.
A private quarrel at this time disrupted a long friend-
ship between two of the translators, both good men and
whole-hearted scholars. At the time they worked together
at Stationers' Hall, Andrew Downes and John Bois were
also aiding their associate Sir Henry Savile in his mam-
moth eight-volume edition of St. Chrysostom. How could
they undertake so much work? Here is a measure of their
scholarship and energy, but overexertion may have af-
fected their tempers. Unhappily, they fell into intense
conflict over the greater credit that Sir Henry Savile
seemed, to Downes, to give to Bois for their help on the
whalelike private opus.
The Bois and Downes notes on St. Chrysostom are all
in Latin and Greek. Judging from the writing, there are
as many by the one as by the other. They extend to scores
of pages. Savile seems to have been fair in giving credit
to both. Sometimes he wrote non probo, I do not prove,
beside some comment by one or the other of his helpers.
Downes grew so jealous that he stopped speaking to his
former pupil, while the milder Bois went on praising
his former teacher. In his smallness the zeal of the Lord
turned inward and almost consumed Downes. Fortunately
the break between them came after the two had finished
their nine months' work at Stationers' Hall.
Savile and Downes, too, became wholly estranged. On
the other hand, Savile and Bois remained friends. Once
when Sir Henry lay sick, Lady Savile said that if he died,
she would burn Chrysostom for killing her husband. Bois
replied that Chrysostom was one of the sweetest preachers
since the apostles, and so satisfied her that she said she
would not do it for all the world. Sir Henry survived.
But now the whole massive eight volumes of Savile's St.
Chrysostom are dead upon the shelves that hold rare
books, while the superb Bible to which Bois, Downes,
and Savile gave their best efforts lives on.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Abbot, because of his office, had
to mingle more than any other translator in events that
concerned the nation. Streaming tears, he sat by the bed
of young Henry, Prince of Wales, who died of cold and
fever on November 6, 1612. His prayer at the deathbed
was "most exceeding powerful, passionate/' Then he
preached at the burial service in Westminster Abbey.
Next he married the Princess Elizabeth to the Elector
Palatine, on February 12, 1613. Thus, so one writer praised
God a hundred years ago, began the line which brought
to Great Britain the blessing of good Queen Victoria.
Abbot could be fulsome about the king, with whom
he was often at odds. The life of King James, he said,
"hath been so immaculate and unspotted in the world,
so free from all touch of viciousness and staining im-
putation, that even malice itself, which leaveth nothing
unsearched, could never find true blemish in it, nor cast
probably aspersion on it. ... All must acknowledge him
to be zealous as David, learned and wise, the Solomon of
our age, religious as Josiah, careful of spreading Christ's
faith as Constantine the great, just as Moses, undefiled
in all his ways as Jehoshaphat, or Hezekiah, full of clem-
ency as another Theodosius." Such pratings were just
churchly eyewash, wholly absurd.
Troubles piled up for the archbishop. Frances Howard,
Countess of Essex, was suing to void her marriage. At
thirteen she had married the Earl of Essex, then fourteen,
son of the Essex whose head Queen Elizabeth had ordered
cut off. It had been a foolish marriage followed by ten
years of contention and falling away from grace. Now
the countess, doubtless goaded on by King James himself,
was nerving herself to marry Robert Carr, Viscount
Rochester, new Earl of Somerset, a former page whom the
king had quickly pushed forward. The case was messy
and Archbishop Abbot found himself in the thick of it.
As one of the group named to adjudge the merits of the
pleas, Abbot, staying with the king at Windsor, fell on
his knees and begged release. Most writers have called
this the case of the Essex divorce. It was rather a suit to
annul the marriage. Both Church and state had to deal
with it. Abbot was honest enough to declare his qualms;
the king induced him to go on seeking the facts, but as it
were, packed the court by adding to it some of whom he
was sure. The chief of these was Thomas Bilson, Bishop
of Winchester, Miles Smith's associate in the final draft
of the Bible.
Always Bilson was discreet in being for the High
Church. He remained so now. What seemed to be a simple
case of divorce was clearly for the Church to oppose, but
Bilson knew which side his bread was buttered on. Abbot's
dislike for him grew intense. The discord between them,
though less open, was greater than that between those
other translators, John Bois and Andrew Dowries. Downes
was merely jealous of Bois because Bois seemed to get
more credit than he for the work both did for Sir Henry
Savile. Abbot was averse to Bilson because of wholly
opposed viewpoints. Low where Bilson was high, Abbot
was still a good enough churchman to deplore any sem-
blance of divorce, which the Church had to condemn.
Many a witness gave vivid evidence, all damning to
the earl, though he was merely a helpless wight. Plainly
he and his wife wanted to quit each other. In his brave
survey of the case, Abbot said among other things, "Inas-
much as we firmly believe that the Scripture doth directly
or by consequence contain in it sufficient matter to decide
all controversies, especially in all things appertaining to
the church, as that marriage among Christians can be
no less accounted than a sacred thing ... I would be
glad to know, and by what text of Scripture, either by the
old or new testament, a man may have a warrant to make
a nullity of a marriage solemnly celebrated/'
King James answered in person: "That the Scripture
doth directly or by consequence contain sufficient matter
to decide all controversies, especially in this appertaining
to the church: This in my opinion is preposterous, and
one of the Puritans' arguments, without a better distinc-
tion of application." Abbot, by the way, quoted Matthew
19:12 from an old Bible, though he had helped trans-
late that very passage in the new Bible. Then, with
courage to stand against the king, Abbot voted against
the dissolution of the marriage. The toady translator,
Bishop Thomas Bilson, voted yes, and with others of like
mind, prevailed, seven to six. King James had insured
The countess, freed from Essex, soon married Carr.
There followed a further scandal. Young Sir Thomas
Overbury, a crude poet, had helped Carr and the countess
during their intrigue, but had balked at the thought of
their being husband and wife. So the hapless poet got
sent to the Tower. There he languished and, in extreme
pain, died. In time Lady Somerset confessed that she had
connived to bring about his death, as a tool now turned
against her and her new husband. The first poisoned
fruit tarts went astray. Then the keeper, at the instance
of a drug man whom the Somersets had secured, fed
Sir Thomas white arsenic; aqua fortis, which is nitric
acid; mercury; powder of diamonds; lapis causticus; great
spiders; and cantharides, which are dried beetles or Span-
ish flies. All these worked slowly. At the end the keeper
gave the doomed man a clyster of corrosive sublimate.
During the trial King James brought up the subject of
witchcraft, largely to show off his crafty power to reason.
Four were put to death for the crime. James at length
pardoned the Earl and Countess of Somerset, who left
the court to become misty figures in the background of
Honest Archbishop Abbot felt sorely troubled about
his failure to prevent all this. Yet he was full of notions
of his own. He brought in, to replace Carr in the king's
favor, young George Villiers, who got out of the prelate's
hand, and rose quickly to be Duke of Buckingham. The
duke's story is beyond our range, but in time all who
wanted to promote any schemes and to get on in the
Stuart world had to bribe this flaunting upstart. Such
doings reflect the social tone of the times through which
the 1611 Bible had to make its way.
Nevertheless the King James Bible began to seep into
common living. First it made progress in the churches,
where the clergy here and there preached from it. Listeners
took to heart and treasured certain verses, sometimes
because they were novel and striking, sometimes because
they were apt and fluent. Then the new Bible found its
way into some homes for reading, for learning to read,
and for times of prayer. More careful study evolved by
degrees, until the phrasings passed into daily language.
This progress can be traced through writings of the
Effects of the revised Bible on conduct, in accordance
with Abbot's plea that the Scriptures could answer all
controversies, are harder to trace. Many have argued that
it had an appreciable effect on English morality. At any
rate the common people came to depend on it for stricter
Amid more rewards for the learned men, there were
more deaths too, as if their labors on the Bible had been
too much. Dr. John Aglionby had died in the prime o
life while the Bible was in the press. When an older
translator, Dr. Thomas Holland, died, a fellow translator,
Dr. Richard Kilby, preached his funeral sermon at St.
Mary's, Oxford. Among others who died in these first few
years after 1611 were John Harmer, Warden of St. Mary's
College; George Ravis, Warden of New College; John
Spenser, who had succeeded Rainolds as president of
Corpus Christi College, Oxford; and Richard Thomson,
the fat-bellied Arminian, who, they said, went to bed
drunk each night. The only translator who is known to
have traveled abroad after 1611 was William Bedwell;
in 1612 he journeyed to Leyden to see Scaliger's Arabian
books and papers.
In 1614 John Overall, Dean of St. Paul's, the translator
whose wife ran away only to return under duress, became
Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. William Barlow, who
had been at the Hampton Court meeting and had written
up that conclave, and who had worked hard on the Bible,
now rose to be Bishop of Lincoln, after having had the
least see of Rochester. Bishop Lancelot Andrewes made
worthy John Bois, who left us his painful notes, a prebend
of Ely a reward that seems tiny for his minute toil.
Then on June 16, 1616, died the Bishop of Winchester,
Thomas Bilson. His long service to the king, rather than
his work with Miles Smith on the final Bible draft, made it
seem fitting to bury him in Westminster Abbey. Bilson's
death left one of the best sees in England open for a good
man. Lancelot Andrewes, we recall, had hoped to be
primate after Bancroft died but had lost out to Abbot.
At length, doubtless approved by Low Church Abbot,
this high churchman who got along well with all became
Bishop of Winchester. More and more he used the 1611
Bible in his sermons.
Others who died in this period were Jeremy Radcliffe;
John Perm, Canon of Christ Church, Oxford; Dr. Ralph
Ravens, Dean of Wells; and Dr. John Duport, Warden
of Magdalen College. On November 6, 1617, died Dr.
John Layfield, the translator who had gone on a voyage
to the West Indies and written an Elizabethan account of
it. Long Rector of St. Clement Danes in London, the
famous church later associated with Dr. Samuel Johnson,
Layfield had just repaired the steeple.
The next year John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield and
Coventry, rose a few notches to be Bishop of Norwich,
where the Puritans had been strong but where he leaned
toward Arminianisrn. Within a year he too was dead.
While the Pilgrims were landing on Cape Cod, on No-
vember 7, 1620, Dr. Richard Kilby, Rector of Lincoln
College, Oxford, died at sixty.
Like most Puritans, Archbishop Abbot believed in
strict keeping of the Sabbath. In 1618 the king issued an
edict in which he approved of sports on Sunday after all
the sacred duties had been observed. Abbot, who was stay-
ing at Croydon, forbade the reading of this edict in the
parish church there. Trying to live in accordance with
the Bible, he knew that God Himself rested on the seventh
day, surely without turning to games. In after years Abbot
was to speak of James I as "my master," yet he was often
fearless to oppose the king.
Even after showing his disapproval of the edict about
Sabbath sports, Archbishop Abbot remained enough in
favor to preach at the funeral service for Queen Anne
on March 13, 1619. And he had gone on with his lesser
duties, such as keeping an eye on All Souls College, Oxford.
"I do require you, Mr. Warden, and the rest of the
officers/' he wrote, "severally to punish such as in your
society are neglecting their studies to spend their time
abroad in taverns and ale houses to the defamation of
scholars and scandal of your house, and not to impart any
common favors unto them unless they thoroughly reform
themselves/' In those lax days the maligned, serious arch-
bishop could seem a nuisance to roistering youth.
For his home town of Guildford, Abbot had founded
and endowed a sort of rest home. In it he reserved rooms
for his own use. Much later John Evelyn in his diary
wrote of a visit to this hospice. Abbot, of course, was now
getting richer and grander in his own eyes. Two of his
brothers, one a member of the East India Company and
of the Council of New England, the other about to be-
come Bishop of Salisbury, prospered along with him.
The archbishop was at the height of a career which the
seeress had promised his mother would come of her
eating a young pike.
At midsummer, 1621, Edward Zouche, eleventh baron
of that name and Warden of the Cinque Ports, a high
office in the state, invited the primate to his great, formal
house and spreading park at Bramshill in Hampshire.
On July 24, not the Sabbath but a Tuesday, Lord Zouche
and his party went deer hunting. The stout, stuffy arch-
bishop wanted to be manful with the bow and arrow,
but was a poor shot. Time after time he warned the men
who were beating up the game to keep back a goodly
distance. Eager to please His Grace by chasing at least
one deer within bow cast of him, they were reckless. A
buck came into sight. Abbot twanged his bow. His arrow
and arrows in those days were sharp, deadly weapons
hit one of the keepers in the arm. Blood gushed out
and before long poor Peter Harkins had bled to death.
Thus George Abbot became the only translator of the
1611 Bible and the only Archbishop of Canterbury ever
to kill a human being.
Abbot was in an abyss of grief, stabbed with the sternest
feelings of guilt. At once he retired to his new hospice at
Guildford. On the widow he settled twenty pounds a
year, which gave her the means to shorten her mourning
and quickly get a second husband. The Church and the
court seethed with dismay and censure. What right had
the primate of the English Church to go hunting?
No canon in the English Church forbade a bishop's
taking part in field sports. Indeed, so to take part was a
portion of the Episcopal right. Queen Elizabeth's Arch-
bishop Whitgift had once killed twenty bucks. The Bible
said nothing about stag hunting. King James had charged
Abbot that he should carry his house nobly and live like
an archbishop, which the prelate had promised him to do.
The case was one for church decision, and a group in-
cluding Bishop Lancelot Andrewes met for long search-
ing and debate. It even referred the matter on the side
to the Sorbonne at Paris. Had Abbot become "irregular"
and "incapable by common law of discharging his duties"?
Meanwhile friends of Abbot were cool to him, and foes
cast slurs at him when he dared to preach in the country.
Yet in September he went briefly to the court again,
where the king put himself out to be kind. Lancelot
Andrewes quibbled and wavered as he sought to placate
all, and the judgment when reached was rather vague,
but in sum absolved Abbot, with Andrewes more or less
for him. The Sorbonne seemed, in the main, against him.
On December 24 the king deemed it best to proclaim a
formal pardon. By law the primate's private estate was
forfeit to the Crown. But James said: "An angel might
have miscarried in this sort. . . . The king would not
add affliction to his sorrow or take one farthing from his
chattels and movables/'
Though thus affirmed in his office, Abbot found the
respect of many people waning. He could do nothing
to allay a persistent feeling that a primate who killed a
man was less holy than he should be. His high power, which
he was still keen to assert, subtly lessened. The rest of his
long service teemed with his crotchets, his temper, his
rather futile judgments, and the efforts of high churchmen
to subdue him. Laud, now a bishop, he rightly thought
one o his chief stumbling blocks, though for the present
Laud knew how to avoid too blatant outbursts.
Sir Henry Savile, the most handsome of the translators,
died at Eton on February 19, 1622. They buried him by
torchlight to save expense, though he left two hundred
pounds for the rites. The useful Miles Smith, Bishop of
Gloucester, died October 20, 1624, after forlorn last years
of conformity to practices he disliked.
On February 14, 1625, was buried at Wilden, Bedford-
shire, Francis Dillingham, the bachelor translator who
knew how a man could be happy though married by
keeping his wife subject to him. The translator Dr.
John Richardson, Master of Peterhouse, died April 20,
1626, leaving one hundred pounds to build a brick wall
in front of the college next to the street. That same year
the translator Robert Spalding slept with his fathers.
Most accounts of the lives of all these men marked the
fact that they had helped translate the King James Bible.
For that work their own world rightly honored them as
true scholars of the first rank.
Amid the deaths and honors the king had been ever
intent on money. "My lords/' he had said in 1619 to two
bishops, Neale of Durham and Andrewes of Winchester,
"cannot I take my subjects' money when I want it with-
out all this formality in parliament?" The two bishops
were standing behind his chair at dinner. Neale said,
"You should; you are the breath of our nostrils." Lancelot
Andrewes said that he had "no skill in parliamentary
cases," but, "I think it lawful for you to take my brother
Neale's money, because he offers it/' The king's concern
for money was always grasping. As his reign lengthened
the nation endured him without conceiving that there
might be worse to come.
The profound event of 1625 was the death of King
James on March 27, after ten days of illness. Four days
before the end he, or perhaps those around him, sent
for Archbishop Abbot, who gave the dying man extreme
unction after the way of the English Church. Someone
else conducted the final service to bury the wise old fool.
The coming of Charles I to the throne increased the
partial eclipse of Abbot. Laud, called in from St. David's,
Wales, where he was bishop, and before long made Bishop
of London, was moving steadily upward. The marriage of
the new king to Henrietta Maria of France was by proxy.
The crowning, court and Church said, had to be on a
holy feast day. This one they at length set for Candlemas,
the purification day of St. Mary the Virgin, February 2,
1626, nearly a year after the death of James.
Having long suffered from gout, the stone, and gravel,
all no doubt due in part to high living, Abbot aroused
himself. Four new bishops had refused with good con-
science to have him install them. He was a tainted primate.
Yet before the great day he, with others, revised the order
for the supreme pageant of coronation. The plague had
once more been rife. By royal command, Archbishop
Abbot, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, and others consulted
on a form of thanks to God that the plague was getting
less. On the splendid day itself, Abbot was later to com-
plain and boast, the archbishop "had work enough for
the strongest man in England." That was true, as we
know from the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II.
The drama was much the same then as now. There
were exact plans for the crowning of Queen Henrietta
Maria, too, with a chair or throne set out for her. Queen
Anne before her had refused to take the oath in the
Church of England, but was present in silence through-
out the ordeal. Now Henrietta Maria, with papist firm-
ness, stayed away but watched the whole pomp from a
vantage point built for her. As the hours went by, other
observers saw with horror the queen's ladies dancing and
frisking; Stuart youth was sportive and Charles was only
On the morning of February 2, the monarch of all he
surveyed went to Westminster Abbey by water. Abbot and
the others had, of course, received the order of the day in
advance and knew just what to do. The almost Puritan
archbishop, in a cope of gold brocade which must have
weighed down his shoulders and perhaps his conscience,
too, spoke to the people in due form. Then he received
the king at the altar which bore a High Church cross.
There were the traditional questions to the king and the
king's formal answers. Then the archbishop had to anoint
the royal body. He took the jeweled crown of King Ed-
ward in his hands, laid it before the king on the altar, and
offered the prayer. He put the ring on the fourth finger of
the king's right hand, gave him the scepter and the rod,
and enthroned him.
Bending his gouty joints and kneeling, he declared, "I,
George Abbot, shall be faithful." The Scripture reading,
still from some older Bible, was I Peter 2:11-13: "Dearly
beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims to abstain
from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soul, and see
that you have honest conversation among the Gentiles,
that whereas they backbite you as evil doers, they may
see your good works and praise God in the day of visita-
tion." Those pointed verses must have sounded like Puri-
tan warnings, for in the months before the crowning,
religious strife had been waxing more acrid.
Now the archbishop gave the king Holy Communion.
Charles sat down in King Edward's chair. The archbishop
lifted the heavy crown and put it on the king's head, say-
ing, "God crown thee with a crown of glory and righteous-
ness." The lords and ladies donned their coronets. It was
The whole display of regal gleaming was much longer
than this brief account implies. Abbot, the only one of
the Bible translators who crowned a king of England,
went through it all well. It was, as always, a brilliant, awe-
some scene. The robes had plenty o crimson and purple.
The young king was a fresh hope for the people. Or was
he? Archbishop Abbot seemed to submerge any hope he
may have had in his wonted sad sourness. Yet as he ached
and glowered, he was oddly more vital than the show
around him, because he knew that the word of our God
shall stand forever.
Then the bells pealed and the people shouted, the
horses pranced and the royal coach rolled along with the
king being gracious. Thus with an archbishop who favored
the Puritans and bishops who were of the High Church,
began a reign which was to be one of ever-raging conflicts
and to have a brutal, lurid end on the scaffold.
Slowly thereafter Abbot sank out of general view. Some-
times others carried him into the House of Lords, where
he spoke from a chair. In the House of Commons his
friend Sir Dudley Digges, whom he had tutored at Univer-
sity College, Oxford, and others looked upon him as a
bulwark against Bishop William Laud, recognized as an
enemy, and also against George Villiers, Duke of Buck-
ingham, whose rise he had at first mistakenly supported.
Now against the dangerous favorite Abbot wrote a long
defense of himself: "The duke of Buckingham (being
still great in the favor of the king, could endure no man
that would not depend upon him) among others had me
in his eye, for not stooping unto him, so as to become his
vassal." From an old Bible he quoted Psalm 112:7: "He
shall not be afraid of any evil tidings, for his heart standeth
fast, and believe th in the Lord." Thus fifteen years after
he finished work on the 1611 Bible he refrained from
In 1657 he had so far fallen from the king's good will
that they tried to relieve him of his duties and take away
his office. He had bitter words for those who thus attacked
him. "In the courts of princes there is little feeling for
the infirmities belonging to old age. They like them that
be young, and gallant in their actions, and in their clothes.
They love not that any man should stick too long in any
room of greatness." No translator of the 1611 Bible, and
least of all George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury,
should have had to say that. Of himself he said: "I can-
not deny that the indisposition of my body kept me from
court and therefore gave occasion to maligners to traduce
me/ 7 At last they set him apart, "sequestered" him. Wil-
liam Laud, Bishop of London, assumed many of the pre-
late's tasks. For him and his almost papist stand Charles
had taken a strong liking.
In the meantime even gracious, smiling Bishop Lance-
lot Andrewes of Winchester had died, September 26, 1626.
John Milton, aged seventeen, at once wrote a stiff Latin
paean at Christ's College, Cambridge. As Andrewes en-
tered heaven, "Each angel saluted his new comrade with
embrace and song, and from the placid lips of One came
these words: 'Come, son, enjoy the gladness of thy Father's
realm; rest henceforth from thy hard labors/ As He spoke,
the winged choirs touched their psalteries." Later Milton
was to write against this same gentle bishop in the old
dispute over episcopal power in the Church.
While Laud enlarged his scope, the Puritans fought
their way forward. The 1611 Bible by its own worth was
making itself welcome throughout the country, for those
on both sides needed the best modern texts with which
to fight their doctrinal skirmishes. High churchmen in
greater numbers began to use the 1611 version, which in
centuries to come would be the sole bond uniting the
countless English-speaking Protestant sects.
In 1629 the Bible was again revised, but only in small
ways, and once more in minor respects in 1638. The last
issue of the Geneva Bible was in 1644. By then the King
James version was ahead of all others, and now the strife
over forms and doctrine helped it on.
"The gospel," Puritan Sir John Eliot had burst forth
in the House of Commons, "is that truth in which his
kingdom has been happy. . . . That truth, not with words
but with actions, we will maintain/' In their worst hours
the Puritans "turned to the new world to redress the
balance of the old." Many of them now founded Boston,
where they used the Bible as a book of ground rules.
The learned men had all come of age before 1604, and
so were to die before most of their Plymouth brethren
and the Puritans in America. Andrew Downes had died
in 1628, still full of rancor against his former pupil and
colleague in the Bible work, John Bois. Jeffrey King, the
translator who had held the royal chair of Hebrew at Ox-
ford, died in 1630. Other translators who soon died were
Roger Andrewes, Master of Jesus College, who had made
his progress through the help of his brother Lancelot, and
Thomas Harrison, Puritan, who had been vice-prefect
of Trinity College, Cambridge. Leonard Hutton died
May 17, 1732, aged seventy-five, and went to his last rest
in Christ Church.
While "sequestered" in 1627, Archbishop Abbot was
still fasting each Tuesday in sorrow for his killing of the
gamekeeper years before. He had days of being better and
days of being worse, but his power in Church and state
was about gone. At last Abbot died at Croydon, August 4,
1633, aged seventy-one. He had served twenty-one years,
three times as long as Bancroft. In after years his oppo-
nents would say that his service was "fatal" to the Church
of England, a statement hardly exact, since the Church
of England remains lively. Unknowingly kindling the
flames of conflict which at length broke out in the great
revolt, Abbot deemed Christian only that which abhorred
and reviled papal forms. On the whole he valued men in
accordance with their zeal for antipopery. His house was
an isle of safety for the foremost in the factious party of
the Church, whose writings he licensed, and he relaxed
penal laws against them. Thus he gave courage to future
rebels who were, years after, to get rid of both Laud and
King Charles. At the bottom of his heart Abbot was far
more a Bible scholar than a churchman. Of the translators,
he played by far the most influential role in the troublous
times after 1611, and his bias led in the end toward a
revolution bound to come. We must give stolid George
Abbot his due.
To succeed him, King Charles of course chose William
Laud, Bishop of London. The new archbishop set to work
putting back the emblems of the High Church. Laud had
resolved to raise the Church of England as a branch,
though a reformed branch, of the Church of Rome, which
was thriving elsewhere. First he determined to sever such
ties as had joined his church to the reformed churches
of Europe. With his power as archbishop he withdrew
freedom of worship from, those of France and Flanders
who had sought refuge in England, until crowds of them
sailed from southern ports to Holland. He and his fol-
lowers even forbade British soldiers and merchants abroad
to attend churches which adhered to the teachings of
Calvin. Passive support of the Crown, in the Church as
elsewhere, was to take the place of gospel preaching.
For more of the learned men, death shortened the
strain of troublous times. Richard Brett died April 15,
1637, aged seventy. His stone at Quanton, Buckingham-
shire, shows him, his widow and his four daughters, all
Now only four of the learned men were still living. Of
these, one had been the youngest Samuel Ward, Puritan,
Warden of Sidney-Sussex College, who as a poor student
had condemned himself for eating too many damson plums
and too much cheese.
Another was Laurence Chaderton, one of the four
Puritans at the Hampton Court parley. A fine old fellow
with a head of gray hair, he could read without glasses
when he was over a hundred. Even then he never said a
thing twice as he conversed or told his harmless stories.
His wife had died after they had been married fifty-five
years, and his daughter had taken care of him. He died
November 13, 1640, aged one hundred and three. Longer
than the rest, he escaped that haunting last chapter of
Ecclesiastes which he helped translate.
When Chaderton and Ward were gone, there were two
left. Of these, one was John Bois. Careful in all matters,
as with words, he had told four bishops of Ely that his
scruples would not let him baptize a stray child that was
too old to be an infant, and too young to profess any
faith. In his old age he could recall details of what he
had known, felt, and done, and had all his wits about
him. His sight was quick, his hearing acute, his face fresh,
and his skin like parchment without wrinkles. He told his
children and others that if at any time he expressed any
thought which savored of bad temper, they should tell
him of it. The day before he died he asked that those
around him move him to the room where his wife had
expired his dear, adverse, spendthrift wife, who had
made him almost bankrupt. He died January 14, 1643,
So at last we come to the sole translator who, after
Laud and Charles I had laid their perverse heads on the
executioner's block, lived on into the rule of Cromwell.
The tall, smiling Bing, who for forty-six years had been
subdean at York, died at Winterton in Norfolk in March,
1652, aged seventy-eight. With Edward Lively's group,
which contained among others Dillingham and Chader-
ton, he had helped revise the Old Testament books from
I Chronicles through Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Eccle-
siastes, and the Song of Songs. Who knows, perhaps he
gave us "If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art
there/' and "Many waters cannot quench love/'
The ^Bible of the
Learned o^l/Ien Lasts
Can a committee produce a work o art? Many would
say no, yet we have seen that this large group of the king's
translators, almost threescore of them, together gave the
world a work greater not only in scope but in excellence
than any could have done singly. How did this come to
be? How explain that sixty or more men, none a genius,
none even as great a writer as Marlowe or Ben Jonson,
together produced writing to be compared with (and con-
fused with) the words of Shakespeare?
Group writing of various kinds has long been useful
or profitable. Encyclopedists have contributed vastly to
education, even to political progress. We have had suc-
cessful works of pooled information, such as the guide-
books compiled by the WPA writers in the depression
years. Popular movies and mysteries are written by writing
"teams/' The daily newspaper is an example of collective
effort by scores of anonymous writers. But art is different.
Art is individual. It may be of use, yet its quality tran-
scends the use of one generation and becomes timeless.
If hard work alone were the secret of success, we would
have the answer, for we know that the learned men worked
hard. Many of them labored like monks in rooms so cold
and damp, except close to the fires, that fingers and joints
got stiff even though they swathed themselves in their
thick gowns. They worked at odd hours, early in the
mornings and late at night, as other duties permitted.
They endured rigors that we would think beyond us.
But hard work alone, singly or in groups, does not
insure a great result. Were the learned men saints, under
As we have seen, these men who made the translation
for King James were subject to like passions as we are.
Even as they gave themselves to the great work, they
yielded also to petty vanities and ambition and prejudice,
and though they put into words certain counsels of perfec-
tion we have yet to attain, they behaved in their own
century by a code we have outgrown. If in general we of
the present day lack their piety, we do not condone their
persecutions or even their fierce doctrinal hatreds. Yet
we must credit them with their temporary alliance for the
work in hand. Besides enduring hardships, the learned
men endured each other. Their zeal for the great under-
taking survived their own wrangles over doctrine and
their differences of opinion in personal matters. The quar-
rels that are recorded were over such differences rather
than the work in hand. There they must have learned
to rise above themselves for the good of the whole, an
act of grace deserving of reward. But does even this
account for the result?
To know that the Bible words were beyond the choosing
of the best of them, we have only to look at their indi-
vidual writing. And this writing of theirs in books or
sermons or attempted poetry also answers the suggestion
that their work on the Bible was great because they lived
in a great age. It was an age of great writing, in which
poets and dramatists flourished, yet these men as indi-
viduals lacked the skills of those who made the Mermaid
Tavern and the Globe Theater live in literature. In vain
do we look to the eloquent Lancelot Andrewes or even
to Miles Smith for the dulcet temper and torrents of
sound In concord that mark the religious prose of Sir
Thomas Browne, or for the dooming ire, like a knell, of
Dr. John Donne. At the same time their Bible surpassed
others in an excellence not to be attributed wholly to
the original writers in the ancient tongues, so that Lytton
Strachey could say of the prophets, "Isaiah and Jeremiah
had the extraordinary good fortune to be translated into
English by a committee of Elizabethan bishops. " Badly
as some of the committee could write on other occasions,
not only was theirs the best of the English Bibles; there is,
in no modern language, a Bible worthy to be compared
with it as literature.
Though such verse as we have of their own lacks value
for us, they were poets who fashioned prose without
knowing how expert they were. Their meters were be-
yond our common attempts at scansion, but no more so
than those of Donne and Blake, who are among the great
English poets. Instead of rigid feet with accents, they
relied on more adroit pulses, which had come to abound
in their age of magic. Keats, silent on a peak as he mar-
veled at Chapman's Homer, might have marveled still
more if he had much traveled through the realms of gold
in the King James Bible. Chapman's Homer of those
same years no longer has the power to dazzle us, while
the Bible's power has shown increase. At Oxford and
Cambridge the learned men breathed the air of noble
language, amid brilliant buildings and gardens which
could excite them to lofty efforts, in a domain that seemed
timeless. And they produced a timeless book.
Are we to say that God walked with them in their
gardens? Insofar as they believed in their own calling
and election, they must have believed that they would
have God's help in their task. We marvel that they could
both submerge themselves and assert themselves, could
meekly agree yet firmly declare, and hold to the words
they preferred as just and fitting. At the same time they
[x6 9 ]
could write and they could listen, speak clearly, and
hearken to the sounds they tested, as well as to the voice
of what they deemed the divine Author. And that must
have been the secret of their grace and their assurance:
they agreed, not with other men like themselves, but with
God as their guide, and they followed not as thinking
themselves righteous but as led by a righteousness beyond
them. They knew that human beings are but worms, but
that man when he is good and docile may mount up with
wings as eagles, to be the child of God.
So they put down what they had to put down; their
writing flows with a sense of must. Some of it they took
wholly from former works, yet the must extends to what
the 1611 scholars had the wisdom to adopt and, as it were,
to inlay in the rest. A good deal of Shakespeare consists
of such inlays which he made his own.
If the marvel of what they did exceeds even the marvel
of Shakespeare, it is because their aim was greater, no less
indeed than the salvation of their world. They were, we
must remember, not writing for themselves. Their qualifi-
cation for the work was that they could speak with tongues,
could converse and say their prayers in the ancient lan-
guages. They were writing a Bible to help the people,
for those who knew little Latin and less Greek or Hebrew.
As churchmen they were in fact working against the rule
of the Church, for reading Scripture would in the long
run make men think for themselves and rise in protest.
This John Rainolds the Puritan had seen some thirty
years before he proposed a new Bible. Among six con-
clusions which he "propounded, expounded and defended
in publick disputation" at Oxford in 1579 was a state-
ment that "The Authoritie of the Holy Scripture is
Greater Than the Authoritie of the Church." In doggerel
which began with Moses and the prophets and continued
through mention of the Gospels and Epistles, Rainolds
And these books hath the holy Ghost set sooth
for mortal wightes
That we in counte of faith and light might follow
them as lights.
Avant all ye, who braine-sicke toyes and fancies
Who on humane traditions and Fathers favors depend.
The holy written Word of God doth show the perfect way
Whereby from death to life arise, from curse to
bliss we may.
Yet if the learned men risked their churchly powers
when they worked to write the vision and make it plain
upon tables, that they who run might read, in return the
work would raise them out of time limitations into future
ages. As they went beyond time by seeking eternal right-
wiseness for all, they also escaped time in the human sense;
they were, as nearly as they could be, of the people of their
own time, and yet they are also of our time, since they
speak to us.
If now we try to define all the reasons why their work
has lasted, we are sure to leave out many while giving too
much weight to others. Parts of the Bible for which we
have the utmost liking will seem to us apt and well-
chosen without our knowing what choices the learned
men had, or what the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures
sought to convey. Because we have made ourselves at one
with them, they confirm to us just what we ourselves
think. This is true even of the odd sayings which we
could never have devised, but which we have always
And indeed the 1611 rhythms have been potent to
affect writing, speaking, and thinking ever since the
learned men produced them. When Thomas Hardy sug-
gested that the translators were made poets by the lapse
of time, he overlooked this continuing influence, and
certainly he cannot have read their other, unpoetic writ-
ing of the same period. The King James men not only
gave us truths, and errors, which have inspired us through
the ages, but had an aptness of manner with beauty as
they ordered the words, and the sounds within the words,
in a wondrous divine progress. They knew how to make
the Bible scare the wits out of you and then calm you,
all in English as superb as the Hebrew and the Greek.
They could make their phrasing proceed as though caused
by the First Cause, without shadow of turning; they could
make the stately language of threat and wrath or the
promises of tender mercy come word for word from God
Himself, from the Hebrew Yahweh and from the Chris-
tian Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. "Woe unto you that
desire the day of the Lord! Let judgment run down as
waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." And later
they could say to us, "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be
of one mind, live in peace: and the God of love and peace
shall be with you/* As we read we feel the divine power
of judgment, and then this love and peace, this good com-
fort, this oneness of mind. The very word structure has
the power to impress us, to arouse and quiet us, to confirm
in us a basic sureness.
Soul and body, the work of the learned men still moves
the world because they wrought inside each sentence a
certain balance of letter and spirit. If other versions have
their day and pass, it is because this balance is somehow
marred, even though strict verbal accuracy may be with
them. Thus to read ''The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you all" is for most of us a happy end, while the
present-day scholar who says "The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with the saints" leaves us out because most
of us in the present spurn sainthood as we understand the
word. The work of the King James men is somehow more
immediate and lively, even literally lively, as when the
1611 Bible tells us in I Peter that the redeemed shall be
Though we may challenge the Idea of word-by-word
inspiration, we surely must conclude that these were men
able, in their profound moods, to transcend their human
limits. In their own words, they spake as no other men
spake because they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Or,
in the clumsier language of our time, they so adjusted
themselves to each other and to the work as to achieve
a unique coordination and balance, functioning there-
after as an organic entity no mere mechanism equal to
the sum of its parts, but a whole greater than all of them.
Miles Smith in his preface bears out this idea that the
work carried them above themselves. "The Scripture . . .
is not an herb but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of
trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the
fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine . . .
And what marvel? The original thereof being from
heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man;
the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles
or prophets/' Here we have an echo of Sir Henry Savile's
distrust of wit as such, when the need is for better under-
standing. "But how shall men . . . understand that which
is kept close in an unknown tongue? As it is written,
Except I know the power of the voice, 1 I shall be to him
that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be
a barbarian to me/'
"Translation it is," Smith continued, "that openeth the
window, let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we
may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we
may look into the most holy place; that removeth the
cover of the well, that we may come by the water." Many
other translators, such as Lancelot Andrewes, liked such
figures. "While the dew lay on Gideon's fleece only, and
all the earth besides was dry; then for one and the same
people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan,
1 In the King James version this is, "If I know not the meaning of the
that is, Hebrew, one and the same original in Hebrew
Now Smith vented some modest boasting. "After the
endeavors of them that were before us, we take the best
pains we can in the house of God. . . . Truly (good
Christian reader) we never thought from the beginning,
that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet
to make of a bad one a good one . . . but to make a good
one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good
one ... To this purpose there were many chosen, that
were greater in other men's eyes than in their own, and
that sought the truth rather than their own praise . . .
They trusted in him that hath the key of David, opening
and no man shutting."
So, "in the confidence and with this devotion did they
assemble together; not too many, lest one should trouble
another; and yet many, lest many things haply might es-
cape them. If you ask what they had before them, truly
it was the Hebrew text of the old testament, the Greek
of the new," which Smith compared to the two gold
pipes of Revelation. They also had many Bibles in many
tongues, and many books about the Bible.
The Septuagint, Smith said in passing, had reportedly
taken the Greeks seventy-two days. Of the King James
Bible he said, "The work hath not been huddled up in
72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth,
the pains of twice seven times seventy two days and more."
Some who take this to mean 1,008 days ignore Smith's
"and more." The work seems to have run from late 1604
through 1610, about six years.
"Neither did we disdain," Smith declared, "to revise
that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil
that which we had hammered: but having and using as
great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for
slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at
the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us,
brought the work to the pass that you see.
"We have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phras-
ing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure
would wish that we had done. . . For is the kingdom
of God become words and syllables? . . . Niceness in
words was always counted the next step to trifling/' Yet
we have seen the niceness with which Smith and Bilson
straightened out what Bois and his comrades offered. "We
desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the
language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the
Understanding the importance o the task of transla-
tion, Smith also gave generous praise to those who had
gone before. His preface contains a long passage about the
translation from Hebrew into Greek, ordered by Ptolemy
Philadelphus, king of Egypt: "This is the translation of
the Seventy Interpreters, so called, which prepared the
way for our Savior among the Gentiles by written preach-
ing, as St. John the Baptist did among the Greeks by
vocal." Smith so well regarded this work that he thought
the Seventy should be considered "not only for Inter-
preters but also for Prophets in some respect. . . . Yet
for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophets to
be men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit,
so it is evident . . . that the Seventy were Interpreters,
not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men;
but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through
oversight, another while through ignorance; yea, some-
times they might be noted to add to the original, and
sometimes to take from it."
As Smith said of the seventy, so we are still saying of
the fifty-odd learned men, and again it is difficult to say
where a line Is to be drawn between interpretation and
prophecy; for such is the communion of saints, and the
importance of the Word that was God. This may be the
secret of our later learned men or even of the seventy be-
fore them, for as Smith describes the work: "And in what
sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowl-
edge, or of their sharpness of it, or deepness of judgment,
as it were in an arm. of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in
him that hath the key of David, opening and no man
shutting; they prayed to the Lord. . . ."
And so perhaps each learned man felt guided from on
high, and respected, while the work lasted, one another's
guiding Spirit. This we cannot know, save by the results;
but Smith at least was willing to credit his predecessors
in translation with some such endowment. Acknowledging
as he did in his Preface a debt to the Seventy Translators
of Alexandria, Miles Smith made it clear that, although
he and his fellow translators for the king approached their
work with fresh energy and a resolve to make new all that
should be new, they were nevertheless carrying out an an-
cient task. However directly they might feel and acknowl-
edge divine guidance, they were part of a human chain
comparable to the 'line of the prophets" a line of in-
terpreters maintaining the Word. Bearing its own stamp,
their writing would yet be derived from and dependent on
the work of others.
Chief of the sources to which they were indebted would
be that translation begun by the man who prayed, from the
flames at Brussels, that God would open the king of Eng-
land's eyes. Tyndale had given his life for the English
Bible, and had he done no more than supply the idea and
make an effort at translation, he must still be accounted
a pioneer of the printed Scripture. But he did more. By
the royal directive which said the new Bible should be
based upon the Bishops' Bible, King James actually per-
petuated the work of that dangerous innovator who first
planned a Bible in English print. For the Bishops' Bible
traced its descent through the Matthew and the Coverdale
versions straight back to Tyndale, only a Tyndale with
some alterations, a royal dedication and the episcopal
blessing. Disappointed in his hope to work under the
patronage of the Bishop of London, driven indeed to bitter
realization that not only was there "no room in my lord of
London's palace to translate the New Testament, but also
that there was no place to do it in all England/' Tyndale
the exiled heretic had obviously contributed to the transla-
tion that bishops in time approved and the king authorized
to be read in churches. And now King James had com-
manded the use of as much of this work as should stand
up under review by the learned men. Thus the martyr's
prayer had an answer; a king's eyes were somewhat opened
and a royal order cleared the way for the English people
to have what Tyndale planned for them.
The year 1611 was too soon, perhaps, to call attention
to this, but later commentators would weigh words and
give Tyndale credit for much of the very phrasing of the
New Testament. Word counts which estimate the debt to
Tyndale in high percentages may be somewhat misleading
in that the distinctive style of the King James version so de-
pends upon the order of the words. Yet it does appear that
after the best efforts of all the learned men, the final editing
approved many of Tyndale's readings. Miles Smith must
have known this and perhaps considered it too obvious to
require comment. Indeed a criticism common to Tyndale's
translation and to Smith's own style in his Preface is a
certain "roughness" or crudeness which, in other estimates,
is seen to be simplicity and strength. Both men liked to
use the short English words. This preference for simple,
familiar language may be one mark of the true inter-
Believing then as Christians must in the continuity of
human effort, we can, while we marvel at agreement of the
King James men among themselves, see them also as carry-
ing on with understanding and sympathy the work of those
who went before. The spirit of Tyndale, perhaps even of
the more shadowy Wycliffe, must have been felt at Hamp-
ton Court and Stationers Hall and in the printshop under
the Tiger's Head. "We are so far off from condemning any
of their labors that travaileth before us in this kind, either
in the land or beyond sea, either in King Henry's time,
or King Edward's ... or Queen Elizabeth's of ever re-
nowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been
raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his
Church; and that they deserve to be had of us and of
posterity in everlasting remembrance/'
Such remembrance the King James men themselves
have had, and have. In his introduction to a reprint of
the Miles Smith preface, Edgar J. Goodspeed, himself an
authority in the field of modern translation, says, "Of
all the forms of the English Bible, the most distinguished
and widely cherished is the King James Version/' and
adds that it is ' 'predominantly the Bible of the layman,
and it will undoubtedly continue to be so for a long time
to come/' Laymen indeed who make indiscriminate trials
of the modern versions are likely to miss the familiar
cadences, and to be put off by such brisk phrases as "no
more delay" where eye and ear expect "time no longer/'
Perhaps the truth is that though we may turn to a modern
translation if, unversed in ancient tongues, we want the
exact meaning of a phrase, we do not feel in this reading
the spiritual overtones that come through the older
English words. Perhaps, when we read Scripture, we do
not want the tempo of our own times. As an example of
what a temporal translation can do, consider the work of
a Dr. Harwood who in 1768 tried making the Bible over
into the polite English of his era. For Matthew 14:6, "The
daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased
Herod/' Dr. Harwood gave, "The daughter of Herodias,
a young lady who danced with inimitable grace and
In a few centuries more, will the vision which made
the King James rhythms perish from the earth? But what
the people accept as vision becomes vision indeed.
Granted, even the idea of God can change, has changed,
and is changing. But if God today is an essence such as
Alfred North Whitehead has tried to explain, it is yet
clear that this Wisdom and Spirit, this basic life force,
has used the King James Bible through an immense
amount of living, with more to come.
When the modern translations removed the old familiar
est and eth endings of verbs, they thought to make the
Bible less prosy; but for many it has the opposite effect.
So also to take out the "begats" seems timid and prissy,
and the same is true of words deemed obscene, as in I
Kings 16:11 and II Kings 18:27. The Hebrew words mean
just what the King James men made them mean, what
soldiers mean today. A masterpiece may use what words
it pleases, and the work of the 1611 translators lasts partly
because they were fearless and called a spade a spade.
But the lasting glory of the King James version is such
that it is unnecessary to pick flaws in later attempts. It is our
good fortune that we can have the modern versions while
we keep the old Bible too. The omens are good for the
work of those devout artists, the King James men, to out-
weigh the more prosaic or streamlined sequents. Modern
shortcomings need not deprive or embarrass us, for inepti-
tudes are not new, and legions of professed poets have
rendered parts of the Bible in ways so banal as to be gro-
tesque. De Quincey shuddered at the thought of the Holy
Scriptures as the age of Pope might have rendered them.
Among the worst of poets, when he dealt with the Bible
words, was John Milton. In the King James version,
Psalm i : i reads "Blessed is the man that walketh not in
the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of
sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Milton
in 1653 made this:
Blest is the man who hath not walked astray
In counsel of the wicked, and in the way
Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat
Of scorners hath not sat.
No wonder that the King James verse lives, while Milton's
verse, for most o us, has long since died.
The author o The Seasons in his time had more repute
as a poet than the King James men had in their time. Yet
here Is what James Thomson did to Matthew 6:28, 29:
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do
they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these/' Now
Observe the rising lily's snowy grace,
Observe the various vegetable race;
They neither toil nor spin, but careless grow;
Yet see how warm they blush! how bright they glow!
What regal vestments can with them compare,
What king so shining, and what queen so fair?
We can appraise how good the 1611 Bible is by sounding
such depths of badness. The King James version has en-
dured partly because its translators had ears to hear when
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy.
The learned men did misread some words and phrases.
Having to denote and connote at the same time, like all
other writers, they sometimes missed their marks. They
had fewer tools of Biblical scholarship than we have today,
and some they had were of inferior quality. Yet many have
treasured as beauty what are no doubt mistakes in phras-
ing. Does that matter much? There were varied and faulty
readings in the oldest texts; many of them still remain
and always will. Though modern scholars desire to pre-
2 Paraphrase on the Latter Part of the Sixth Chapter of St. Matthew.
sent a truer translation, their success is limited and rela-
tive; they can at best only approach truth.
If the strange doings, the wisdom and the advice, the
maxims, the divine rages and the promised rewards of the
King James version excite and bother us, no doubt the
English Bible has lasted partly because it has bothered
us, and those scholars who try to take the bother out make
it too common. Like a mountain, the King James Bible
gives us much to do if we are to learn much of it, and like
fire in the air it plays for us with changing lights. When
all is said and done, we have lived too long with the land,
air, and water of 1611, with its people, their concepts and
actions, to change with ease. When a true masterpiece is
done, it stays done, it lives alone.
Can we then ever define just what the beauty of the
King James Bible is, just what has made us love it? Mil-
lions of sermons, those that lasted hours, and the neat
little ones of about fifteen minutes today, have made of
the Bible, and the 1611 Bible above all, what they pleased.
Millions of people have put themselves to it to explain
it, sometimes with rash valor to explain away parts of it.
And though it has given to millions the words of life to
live by, people have got from it quips and cranks and
wanton wiles as well as the deep things of God. They have
found blessings in the very conflicts which it allows its
Indeed, one reason the King James Bible lasts is that
it gives us freedom to differ, affording us counterthoughts
to rub against each other. Thus though the new transla-
tion captured readers slowly, in the long run it appealed
to High Church, Low Church, and chapel alike. Though
it was never merely a Puritan work, Cromwell and his
fellow Roundheads pushed it forward. George Fox,
Milton, Bunyan, and Defoe used it. Boswell quoted it
roughly. In early Plymouth Elder William Brewster ap-
pears to have had only a Great Bible, yet soon Roger Wil-
Hams, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, the New Lights,
Wesley, all made their teachings comport with the King
James text. The heirs o Robert Barker went on printing
it as sole owners of the right for a hundred years. At last
it suited nearly all the Protestant sects. In the United States
it has been the standby not only of "the Bible belt" but
of all other regions. The Mormons took it with them to
Utah. The Christian Science Church leans on it for lesson-
sermons. Negro preachers love it. Untold millions could
unite in their respect for the King James words when
they could unite on almost nothing else.
Although Shakespeare did not quote from it, the King
James version won praise from the great modern dramatist
who himself loved fire and sparkle and debate upon all
sides of a question. Writing of wide Bible distribution,
Bernard Shaw declared:
In all these instances the Bible means the translation author-
ized by King James the First. . . . The translation was ex-
traordinarily well done because to the translators what they
were translating was not merely a curious collection of ancient
books written by different authors in different stages of cul-
ture, but the word of God divinely revealed through His chosen
and expressly inspired scribes. In this conviction they carried
out their work with boundless reverence and care and achieved
a beautifully artistic result. It did not seem possible to them
that they could better the original texts; for who could im-
prove on God's own style? And as they could not conceive that
divine revelation could conflict with what they believed to be
the truths of their religion, they did not hesitate to translate a
negative by a positive where such a conflict seemed to arise, as
they could hardly trust their own fallible knowledge of ancient
Hebrew when it contradicted the very foundations of their
faith, nor could they doubt that God would, as they prayed,
take care that His message should not suffer corruption at their
hands. In this state of exaltation they made a translation so
magnificent that to this day the common human Britisher or
citizen of the United States of North America accepts and wor-
ships it as a single book by a single author, the book being the
Book of Books and the author being God.
Today even the godless admire the splendors of the
King James words, retaining them in their thoughts and
on their lips as if they expressed truisms or slogans, or
charming, sometimes comic aspects of the outworn. Thus
they persist in our common language, and for words of
power this may be enough; the Spirit that giveth life and
the gospel, the good news that saves, each must find for
himself. And so when some say that Jesus or the prophets
must have meant this or that, perhaps we should presume
to say in answer only that a statement means this or that
to us. Read into the Bible what you wish; your gospel, or
good news, may well be private. Can you rightly impose
it on any other? We may enjoy the meanings that we
find without thinking our meanings true for all, for thus
all readers become priests unto God, and honor and keep
faith with the learned men.
Let us end with a passage from a letter dealing with
divinity, the study of divine truth, written by Dr. John
Rainolds and apparently unpublished until now. In this
of his papers the father of the 1611 Bible wrote that the
Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Romans are "the
sum of the New Testament; Isaiah the prophet and the
Psalms of David the sum of the Old." Then he added:
Divinity, the knowledge of God, is the water of life. . . . God
forbid that you should think that divinity consists of words, as
a wood doth of trees. . . . True divinity cannot be learned
unless we frame our hearts and minds wholly to it. ... The
knowledge of God must be learned of God. . . . We have to
use two means, prayers and the reading of the holy Scriptures,
prayers for ourselves to talk with God, and reading to hear
God talk with us. . . . We must diligently give ourselves to
reading and meditation of the holy Scriptures. ... I pray God
THE WESTMINSTER GROUPS:
(Genesis Kings, inclusive)
John Lay field
THE OXFORD GROUPS:
(Isaiah Malachi, inclusive)
Daniel Featley (born Fair-
(Romans Jude, inclusive)
(Gospels, Acts, Apocalypse)
THE CAMBRIDGE GROUPS:
Old Testament Apocrypha
(I Chronicles Ecclesiastes, In-
Roger Andrewes John Bols
Andrew Bing William Branthwaite
Laurence Chaderton Andrew Downes
Francis Dillingham John Duport
Thomas Harrison Jeremy Radcliffe
Edward Lively Samuel Ward
John Richardson Robert Ward
Also Thomas Bilson, editor
These are the 48 scholars listed by the British Museum. To
them should be added:
William Thorne, credentials supplied in this book.
Richard Edes, named for the Greek group at Oxford, but
dying early, may be added. Also,
George Ryves, an overseer of the translation at Oxford.
William Eyre, James Montague, Arthur Lake, Nicholas
Love, Ralph Ravens, and Thomas Sparke appear on
other lists or are mentioned by some authorities as
taking part in the work.
Coverdale. She returned unto him about even tide, and be-
hold, she had broken off a leaf of an olive tree and bare it in her
nebb. Then Noah perceived that the waters were abated upon
Geneva. And the dove came to him in the evening, and lo,
in her mouth was an olive leaf that she had plucked, Whereby
Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
King James. And the dove came in to him in the evening,
and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah
knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
Coverdale. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar
of a cloud, to lead them the right way, and by night in a pillar
of fire, that he might show the light to walk both by day and
Geneva. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar
of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire
to give them light, that they might go both by day and by night.
King James. And the Lord went before them by day in a
pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar
of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
LEVITICUS li:21, 22
Coverdale. Yet these shall ye eat of the fowls that creep and
go upon four feet; even those that have no knees above upon
the legs, to hop withal upon the earth. Of these may ye eat, as
there Is the arbe with his kind, and the selaam with his kind,
and the hargol with his kind, and the hagab with his kind.
Geneva. . . . Of them shall ye eat these, the grasshopper
after his kind, the solcan after his kind, the hargol after his
kind, and the hegab 1 after his kind.
King James. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping
thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their
feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and
the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and
the grasshopper after his kind.
Revised Standard Version. Yet among the winged insects that
go on all fours you may eat those which have legs above their
feet, with which to leap on the earth.
Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the
bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its
kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind.
Coverdale. Then said the Lord unto Moses, Make thee a
brasen serpent, and set it up for a token. Whosoever is bitten,
and looketh, upon it, shall live.
Geneva. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery
serpent, aad set it up for a sign, that as many as are bitten shall
look upon it and live.
King James. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a
fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass,
that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Coverdale. When a man hath newly taken a wife, he shall not
go out a warfare, neither shall he be charged withal. He shall
be free in his house one year long, that he may be merry with
his wife which he hath taken.
Geneva. When a man taketh a new wife, he shall not go a
warfare, neither shall he be charged with any business, but
1 The strange names were attempts to give in English letters the exact
shall be free at home one year, and rejoice with his wife which
he hath taken.
King James. When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not
go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business:
but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his
wife which he hath taken.
JOSHUA 6: go
Coverdale. Then made the people a great shout and the
priests blew the trumpets (for when the people heard the noise
of the trumpets, they made a great shout) and the walls fell,
and the people climbed up in to the city, every man straight
before him. Thus they won the city.
Geneva. So the people shouted when they had blown
trumpets; or when the people had heard the sound of the
trumpet, they shouted with a great shout and the wall fell
down flat; so the people went up into the city, every man
straight before him, and they took the city.
King James. So the people shouted when the priests blew
with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard
the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great
shout, that the wall fell down fiat, so that the people went up
into the city, every man straight before him, and they took
Bishops' Bible. He asked water and she gave him milk, she
brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the
nail, and her right hand to the smith's hammer; with the ham-
mer smote she Sisera and smote his head, wounded him and
pierced liis temples. He bowed him down at her feet, he fell
down, and lay still at her feet, he bowed himself and fell, and
when he had sunk down, he lay there destroyed.
King James. He asked water, and she gave him milk: she
brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the work-
men's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she
smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through
At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down. At her feet he
bowed, lie fell; where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Jewish Bible of 1917. Water he asked, milk she gave him.
In a lordly bowl she brought him curd. Her hand she put to
the tent pin, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer . . .
At her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; at her feet he sunk, he fell;
where he sunk, there he fell down dead.
Coverdale. And Samson said: With an old ass's cheek bone,
yea even with the cheek bone of an ass have I slain a thousand
Geneva. Then Samson said, With the jaw of an ass are heaps
upon heaps; with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
King James. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass,
heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thou-
i KINGS 10:4, 5
Coverdale. When the queen of rich Arabia saw all the wisdom
of Solomon and the house that he had builded, and the meats
of his table, and the dwellings of his servants, and the offices of
his ministers and their garments, and his butlers, and the burnt
offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord, she won-
Geneva. Then the queen of Sheba saw all Solomon's wisdom,
and the houses he had built,
And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and
the order of his ministers, and their apparel, and his drinking
vessels, and his burnt offerings that he offered in the house of
the Lord, and she was greatly astonied.
King James. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solo-
mon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants,
and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his
cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house
of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
I CHRONICLES S>Qlll
Geneva. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and
the glory, and the victory, and the praise: for all that is in the
heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord,
and thou art excellent as head above all.
King James. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in
the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom,
O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
II CHRONICLES 20121
Coverdale. . . . Appointed the singers unto the Lord, and
them that gave praise in the beauty of holiness, to go before the
harnessed men, and to say, O give thanks unto the Lord, for his
mercy endureth for ever.
Geneva. . . . Praise him that is in the beautiful sanctuary
. . . Praise ye the Lord, for his mercy lasteth for ever.
King James. ... he appointed singers unto the Lord, and
that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out be-
fore the army, and to say, Praise the Lord, for his mercy en-
dureth for ever.
JOB 14:1, 2
Coverdale. Man that is born of a woman hath but a short
time to live and is full of diverse miseries. He cometh up and
falleth away like a flower . . .
Geneva. Man that is born of a woman is for short continu-
ance and full of trouble. He shooteth forth as a flower, and is
cut down . , .
King James. Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and
full of trouble.
He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down . .
Coverdale. I have given diligent ear unto thee, and now I
see ye with mine eyes.
Geneva, Bishops', and King James. I have heard of thee by
the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee.
Douay. With the hearing of the ear I have heard thee, and
now mine eye seeth thee.
Revised Standard Version.
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now mine eye sees thee.
Coverdale. After thou haddest for a season made him lower
than the angels, thou crownedst him with honor and glory.
Geneva. For thou hast made him a little lower than God, and
crowned him with glory and worship.
King James. For thou hast made him a little lower than the
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.
Geneva. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He
maketh me to rest in green pasture, and leadeth me by the still
waters. . . . Doubtless kindness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life, and I shall remain a long season in the
house of the Lord.
Bishops'. God is my shepherd, therefore I can lack nothing.
He will cause me to repose myself in pasture full of grass, and
he will lead me unto calm waters. He will convert my soul . . .
Truly felicity and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of God for a long time.
King James. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me
beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul . . .
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my
life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Coverdale. In our trouble and adversity, we have found that
God is our refuge, our strength and help.
Geneva. God is our hope and strength and help in troubles,
ready to be found.
King James. God is our refuge and strength, a very present
help in trouble.
PSALM 91:1, 2
Geneva. Whoso dwelleth in the secret place o the most High
shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say unto the Lord, O mine hope and my fortress; he is
my God, in him will I trust
Bishops'. Whosoever sitteth under the cover of the Most
High, he shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty . . .
Douay. He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High shall
abide under the protection of the God of Jacob . . .
King James. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most
High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my
God; in him will I trust.
Geneva. I will lift mine eyes unto the mountains, from
whence my help shall come.
King James. I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from
whence corneth my help.
Jewish Bible of 1917. 1 will lift up mine eyes unto the moun-
tains. From whence shall my help come?
PSALM 137:1, 2
Cover dale. By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion. As for our harps, we hanged them
up upon the trees that are therein.
Geneva. By the rivers of Babel we sate, and there we wept,
when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
King James. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea,
we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst
Coverdale. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither
shall I flee from thy presence? If I climb up in to heaven, thou
art there. If I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the
wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost part of the
sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall
hold me. If I say, peradventure the darkness shall cover me,
then shall my night be turned to day.
Geneva. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall
I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend into heaven, thou art there; if I lie down in hell,
thou art there.
Let me take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter-
most parts of the sea;
Yet thither shall thine hand lead me, and thy right hand
If I say, yet the darkness shall hide me, even the night shall
be light about me.
Bishops'. Whither can I go from thy spirit, or whither can
I flee from thy face? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there;
if I lay me down in hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings
of the morning, and go to dwell in the uttermost parts of the
sea, even there also thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand
shall hold me. And if I say peradventure the darkness shall
cover me; and the night shall be day for me.
King James. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither
shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed
in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter-
most parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night
shall be light about me.
SONG OF SOLOMON, 2111-1$
Bishops'. 2 For lo the winter is now passed, the rain is away
and gone, the flowers are come up in the field, the time of the
birds' singing is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard
in our land . . .
Geneva. For behold, winter is passed, the rain is changed
and is gone away.
a ln the Bishops' Bible the book is called "The Ballet of Ballets of
The flowers appear in the earth, the time of the singing of
birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
The fig tree hath brought forth her young figs, and the vines
with their small grapes have cast a savor.
King James. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of
birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with
the tender grape give a good smell. . . .
Goverdale. For unto us a child shall be born, and unto us a
son shall be given. Upon his shoulder shall the government be,
and he shall be called by his own name: The wondrous giver of
counsel, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of
Bishops'. For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is
given, upon his shoulder shall the rule be, and he is called with
his own name, wonderful the giver of counsel, the mighty God,
the everlasting Father, the prince of peace.
Douay. For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us,
and the government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be
called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the mighty, the Father of
the world to come, the prince of peace.
King James. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is
given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and
his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty
God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Goverdale. O how beautiful are the feet of the ambassador
that bringeth the message from the mountain and proclaimeth
peace, that bringeth the good tidings and preacheth health,
that saith unto Zion, Thy God is the king.
Geneva. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of
him that declareth and publisheth peace, declareth good tid-
ings, and publisheth salvation, saying unto Zion, Thy God
I 1 94]
Douay. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of
him that bringeth good tidings and that preacheth peace, of
him that showeth forth good, that preacheth salvation, that
saith to Zion, Thy God shall be king,
King James, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that
bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that
saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Bishops'. The sun shall never be thy daylight, and the light
of thy moon shall never shine unto thee; but the Lord shall be
thine everlasting light; and thy God shall be thy glory.
King James. The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but
the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God
Coverdale and Bishops'. And it shall be that or ever they call,
I will answer them, and while they are but thinking how to
speak, I will hear them.
King James* And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear,
Coverdale. In the valley appointed there shall be many, many
people, for the day of the Lord is nigh in the valley appointed.
Geneva. O Multitude, O Multitude, come into the valley of
threshing, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of
Bishops'. O people, people, come into the valley of final
judgment, for the day of the Lord is at hand in the valley of
Douay. Nations, nations, in the valley of destruction, for the
day of the Lord is near in the valley of destruction.
King James. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
Geneva. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and
what the Lord requireth of thee; firstly to do justly, and to have
mercy, and to humble thy self to walk with thy God.
King James. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to
love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Geneva. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he
will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will quiet him-
self in his love; he will rejoice over thee with joy.
King James. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty;
he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his
love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Geneva. In that day shall there be written upon the bridles
of horses, The holiness unto the Lord.
King James. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the
horses, Holiness unto the Lord. . . .
Coverdale. ... Ye shall go forth and multiply as the fat
Geneva. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of
righteousness arise, and health shall be under his wings, and ye
shall go forth and grow up as fat calves.
Bishops'. But to you that fear my name shall that son of
righteousness arise, and health shall be under his wings, and ye
shall go forth and skip like fat calves.
King James. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun
of righteousness arise with healing in Ms wings, and ye shall go
forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
Tyndale. If the salt have lost his saltness, what can be salted
King James. If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall
it be salted?
Tyndale. When ye pray, babble not much, as the heathen
do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much bab-
King James. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as
the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their
Bishops'. Let thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as well
in earth as it is in heaven.
King James. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Tyndale. Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and the right-
King James. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness . . .
Tyndale. Possess not gold, nor silver, nor brass in your girdles.
King James. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your
Goverdale. Glory be unto God on high, and peace upon earth,
and unto men a good will.
Geneva. Glory be to God in the high heavens, and peace in
earth, and towards men good will.
Bishops'. Glory to God in the highest and peace on the earth,
and among men a good will.
Douay. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to
men of good will.
King James. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.
Tyndale. . . . for the very sinners love their lovers.
King James. . . . for sinners also love those that love them.
Coverdale. The eye is the light of the body.
Geneva. The light o the body is the eye.
Bishops'. The candle of the body is the eye.
Douay. The light of the body is the eye. If thy eye be single,
thy whole body will be lightsome; but if it be evil thy body
also will be darksome.
King James. The light of the body is the eye; therefore when
thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when
thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Tyndale. And one of the wenches beheld him as he sat by
the fire and set good eyesight on him.
King James. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the
fire, and earnestly looked upon him . . ,
Coverdale. In my Father's house are many dwellings.
Geneva and Bishops'. In my Father's house are many dwelling
Douay. In my Father's house there are many mansions.
King James. In my Father's house are many mansions.
Revised Standard Version. In rny Father's house are many
Tyndale. . . . Let not your heart be grieved, neither fear ye.
King James. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither
let it be afraid.
Tyndale. . . . That ye love together ...
King James. . . . That ye love one another . . .
Tyndale. Greater love than this hath no man, than that a
man bestow his life for his friends.
Coverdale. No man hath greater love than to set his life for
Bishops'. Greater love than this hath no man, when any man
bestoweth his life for his friends.
King James. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends.
I CORINTHIANS 13:4
Bishops'. Charity suffereth long and is courteous, charity en-
vieth not, charity doth not frowardly, swelleth not.
King James. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity
envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
II CORINTHIANS 1:5
Tyndale. For as the afflictions of Christ are plenteous in us,
even so is our consolation plenteous by Christ.
King James. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so
our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
II CORINTHIANS g:i8
Geneva. But we all behold as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord with open face, and are changed into the same image from
glory to glory as by the spirit of the Lord.
King James. But we all, with open face beholding as in a
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
II CORINTHIANS 4:1, 2
Tyndale. Therefore seeing that we have such an office, even
as mercy is come on us, we faint not; but have cast from us the
cloaks of unhonesty, and walk not in craftiness, neither corrupt
we the word of God; but walk in the truth, and report our-
selves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
King James. Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we
have received mercy, we faint not;
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not
walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceit-
fully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves
to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Bishops'. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,
who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the
earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the
things which are therein, that there should be no longer time.
King James. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,
who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the
earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the
things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.
Revised Standard Version, And swore by him who lives for
ever and ever, who created heaven, and what is in it, the earth
and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there should
be no more delay.
REVELATION 2 1 '.2
Geneva, And I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem come
down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride trimmed for
Bishops'. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, come
down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride garnished
for her husband.
King James. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride
adorned for her husband.
REVELATION 2 1:4
Tyndale. ... for the old things are gone.
King James. ... for the former things are passed away.
REVELATION 22: 17
Tyndale? Bishops' and King James. And the Spirit and the
bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let
him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the
water of life freely.
Revised Standard Version. The Spirit and the Bride say,
"Come." And let him who hears say, "Come." And let him who
is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life with-
THE TRANSLATORS, THEIR WRITING
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. The Reasons Which Dr. Hill Hath Brought for the Up-
holding of Papistry. Oxford, 1604.
Andrewes, Lancelot. Works. 11 vols. Oxford, 1854.
Barlow, William. The Sum and Substance of the Conference.
. An Answer to a Catholic English Man. London, 1609.
. A Defense of the Articles of the Protestants' Religion.
-. Sermons. 1606, 1607.
Bedwell, William. The Arabian Trudgman. London, 1615.
. Description of Tottenham High Cross. London, 1617.
Bilson, Thomas. Sermons. London, 1599-1610.
Chaderton, Laurence. Sermons. 1580, 1584.
Clarke, Richard. Sermons. London, 1637.
Dillingham, Francis. A Golden Key, Opening the Locke to
Eternal Happiness. London, 1609.
Fenton, Roger. An Answer to William Alabaster. London, 1599.
. Of Sinning and Sacrifice. London, 1604.
. A Treatise on Usury. London, 1611.
Holland, Thomas. Sermons. Oxford, 1599, 1601.
Hutton, Lionel. An Answer to a Certain Treatise of the Cross
in Baptism. Oxford, 1605.
Kilby, Richard. The Burden of a Loaded Conscience. Cam-
Layfield, John. "A Large Relation of the Porto Rico Voyage/'
In Samuel Purchas: Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas
His Pilgrims, vol. 16. Glasgow, 1906.
Lively, Edward. A True Chronology of the Times of the Persian
Monarchy. London, 1597.
Overall, John. Bishop Overall's Convocation Book. Oxford,
Rainolds, John. The Overthrow of Stage Plays. 1599.
. The Prophecy of Obadiah Opened and Applied. Ox-
. Sermon 10 on Haggai. 1599.
The Sum of the Conference Between John Rainolds
and John Hart. London, 1585.
Saravia, Hadrian. Defensi Tractiones. London, 1610.
. Diversi Tractatus. London, 1611.
.Examen Tractatus. London, 1611.
. A Treatise on the Different Degrees of the Christian
Priesthood. Oxford, 1590.
Savile, Henry. The End of Nero. London, 1591.
. Johannes St. Chrysostomus. Opera Graeca. 8 vols. Lon-
Smith, Miles. Sermons. London, 1632.
Spenser, John. God's Love to His Vineyard. London, 1615.
Thomson, Richard. Diatriba. Leyden, 1616.
. Elenchus Refutationis. London, 1611.
Thorne, William. A Kenning Glass for a Christian King. Lon-
Ward, Samuel. Diary in Two Elizabethan Puritan Diaries, ed.
by M, M. Knappen. London, 1933.
Aubrey, John. Brief Lives. London, 1949.
Brook, Benjamin. The Lives of the Puritans. 3 vols. London,
Cecil, Algernon. A Life of Robert Cecil. London, 1915.
Colville, Kenneth N. Fame's Twilight. Boston, 1824.
Creasy, Edward. Memoirs of Eminent Etonians. London,
Dictionary of National Biography^ London.
Dillingham, William. Vita Chadertoni. London, 1700. Trans,
by E. S. Schuckburgh. London, 1884.
Eliot, T. S. For Lancelot Andrewes. London, 1928.
Fuller, Thomas. The History of the Worthies of England. 3
vols. London, 1840.
Hook, Walter F. An Ecclesiastical Biography. 8 vols. London,
. Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. London, 1875.
Isaacson, Henry. An Exact Narrative of the Life and Death of
the Late Reverend and Learned Prelate and Painful Di-
vine, Lancelot Andrewes. London, 1650.
Neal, Daniel. History of the Puritans. London, 1822.
Newcourt, Richard. Repertorium Ecclesiasticum, 2 vols. Lon-
Ottley, Robert L. Lancelot Andrewes. London, 1894.
Peile, John. Biographical Register of Christ's College. Cam-
Russell, Arthur T. Memoirs of . . . Lancelot Andrewes. Lon-
Smith, Thomas. Select Memoirs of the Lives, Labors and Suffer-
ings of Those Pious and Learned English and Scottish Di-
vines. Glasgow, 1821.
Teale, William H. Lives of English Divines. London, 1846.
Walker, Anthony. "Life and Death of the Rev. John Bois." In
Peck, Francis, Desiderata Curiosa. London, 1779.
Williamson, George C. George, Third Earl of Cum berland . . .
His Life and His Voyages. Cambridge, 1920.
Win wood, Ralph. Memorials of Affairs of State, vol. 2. Lon-
Wordsworth, Christopher. Ecclesiastical Biography, vol. 4.
THE TIME AND THE PLACE
Aydelotte, Frank. Elizabethan Rogues and Vagabonds. Oxford,
Burnet, Gilbert. The History of the Reformation of the Church
of England. London, 1679-1715.
Calderwoocl, David. The History of the Kirk of Scotland. 8 vols.
Cardwell, Edward. A History of Conferences. Oxford, 1841.
Chamberlain, John. Letters. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1939.
Collier, Jeremy. Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain. 2 vols.
Dekker, Thomas. The Gull's Hornbook. London, 1609.
Disraeli, Isaac. Miscellanies of Literature, vol. 3. New York,
Duncan, Jonathan. The History of Guernsey. London, 1841.
Fuller, Thomas. Abel Redivivus. 2 vols. London, 1867.
. The Church History of Britain. 6 vols. Oxford, 1845.
Kington, Alfred. A History of Royston. Royston, 1906.
Kittredge, George L. Witchcraft in Old and New England.
Cambridge, Mass., 1929.
Law, Ernest. A Short History of Hampton Court. London,
Lindsay, Philip. Hampton Court, A History. London, 1948.
Mitman, Henry H. Annals of St. Paul's Cathedral London,
Neale, John P. The History of Antiquities of the Abbey Church
of St. Peter, Westminster. 2 vols. London, 1818.
Paquot, Jean Noel. Histoire Litteraire des Pays-Bas. 1763.
Pigot, Hugh. Hadleigh, vol. 3. Suffolk Institute of Archeology,
Statistics and Natural History. Lowestoft, 1863.
Prynne, William. Canterbury's Doom. London, 1646.
Siltzer, Frank. Newmarket London, 1923.
Sinclair, William M. Memorials of St. Paul's Cathedral Lon-
Strype, John. The Life and Acts of John Whitgift. Oxford,
Willis, Browne. A Survey of the Cathedrals. 3 vols. London,
Birch, Thomas. The Court and Times of James I. London,
Chambers, Robert. Life of King James L Edinburgh, 1830.
Goodman, Godfrey. The Court of King James the First. 2 vols.
Henderson, T. F. James I and James VL Edinburgh, 1904.
James I, King. Works. Trans. James Montagu, 1616. Including
"The Essaye of a Prentice in the Divine Art of Poesie."
Nichols, John. The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent
Festivities of King James the First. London, 1828.
Boas, Frederick S. University Drama in the Tudor Age. Oxford,
Chalmers, Alexander. A History of the University of Oxford.
2 vols. Oxford, 1810.
Clark, Andrew. The Colleges of Oxford. London, 1892.
Coombe, William. A History of the University of Cambridge.
2 vols. London, 1815.
Cooper, Charles Henry. Athenae Cantabrigiensis. 3 vols. Cam-
Fowler, Thomas. The History of Corpus Christi College. Ox-
Fuller, Thomas. The History of the University of Cambridge.
Gray, Arthur. Cambridge University. Cambridge, 1926.
Macray, William D. Annals of the Bodleian Library. London,
Mullinger, James Bass. The University of Cambridge. Cam-
Phelps, William Lyon. George Chapman. New York, 1895.
Ringler, William. The Immediate Sources of Euphuism. Mod-
ern Language Association, vol. 53. September, 1938.
Shuckburgh, Evelyn S, Emmanuel College. London, 1904.
Thompson, Henry L. Christ Church. London, 1900.
Wood, Anthony, Athenae Oxoniensis. London, 1815.
Young, Karl, William Gager's Defense of the Academic Stage.
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, vol. 18,
part 2, 1916.
THE GREAT WORK.
Anderson, Christopher. Annals of the English Bible. London,
Arber, Edward. A Transcript of the Registers of the Company
of Stationers. London, 1877.
Ball, William. A Brief Treatise Concerning the Regulation of
Printing. London, 1651.
Butterworth, C. C. The Literary Lineage of the English Bible.
Eadie, John. The English Bible, vol. 2. London, 1876.
Heaton, W. J. The Puritan Bible. London, 1913.
Lewis, John. A Complete History of the Several Translations
of the Holy Bible. London, 1918.
McClure, Alexander W. The Translators Revived. New York,
Penniman, Josiah H. A Book About the English Bible. New
Pollard, Alfred W. Records of the Bible. Oxford, 1911.
Selden, John. Table Talk. London, 1689.
Westcott, Brooke F. A General View of the History of the Eng-
lish Bible. New York, 1868.
Willoughby, Edwin Elliott. The Making of the King James
Bible. Los Angeles, 1956.
Bodleian Library, Oxford. "Notes by John Bois." "Will and
correspondence of John Rainolds." "Reg. XXXII 48. His-
tory of five years of the reign of James I."
Cambridge University Library. "Letters of Bishop Bancroft,
Lambeth Palace Library, London. Letter to Laurence Chader-
ton, June 26, 1599. Early list of translators.
Public Record Office, London. Jan. 12, 1604. Appointments for
the Hampton Court conference. July 22, 1604. Translators
to be chosen. April 29, 1605. Promotion for Dr. Layfielcl.
1606. Certificate signed by bishops, promotion of Dr.
Thorne, translator. Correspondence about election of
Bishop Ravis. Reports of beheading of Earl of Essex. Let-
ter of Cecil to Dr. Barlow. Letters of Sir Henry Savile.
Yale University Library, New Haven. Typescript, "John Over-
all," by Nadine Overall.
Abbot, George, 50, 53, 55, 69, 81,
82, 85, 91, 92, 93, 104, 142-145,
148, 149, 151-154, 157, 158, 160,
162, 163, 164
Aglionby, John, 75, 76, 82, 85, 155
Ainsworth, Henry, 139, 140
All Souls' College, 156
America, 35, 41, 54, 93, 100, 129
Andrewes, Lancelot, 12, 13, 16,
*7* l8 SO' 34^ 37* 4 1 * 5*' 53>
56, 60, 69, 70, 72, 73, 78, 84,
90-93, 98, 127, 133, 136, 142-
*45> *5S> 1 5&* *S9> *6 *%
Andrewes, Roger, 56, 164
Anne, Queen, 3, 79, 82, 87, 105,
Antwerp Polyglot, 77
Apocrypha, 30, 61, 77, 111, 112,
Arminianism, 40, 42, 141, 156
Armlnians, 58, 142
Arminius, Jacobus, 42
Bacon, Francis, 3, 17, 56, 93, 127
Balliol College, 53
Baptism, 2, 94
Bancroft, Richard, 4, 5, 6, n, 12,
*S *9> 34 4> 47* 7' 7 8 93- 94
97, 103-104, 106, 128, 133, 141,
Barker, Christopher, 134
Barker, Robert, no, 114, 134,
Barking, 16, 17
Barlow, William, 4, 12, 42, 44, 69,
90, 91, 92, 95, 99, 155
Beaumont, Francis, 46, 47
Bedwell, William, 30, 40, 41, 102,
Beza, Theodore, 77, 114, 115
Bezoar stone, 61
"Bible belt," 182
Bilson, Thomas, 12, 72, 75, 76,
85, 96, 97, 106, 117, 119-120,
122-123, 127, 128, 132, 135, 140,
152, 153' *55* 175
Bing, Andrew, 56, 60, 135, 166
Bishops, 47, 95, 96, 140
Bishops* Bible, 70, 71, 108, 126,
Blake, William, 169
Bodleian Library, 52, 83, 99, 120
Bodley, Sir Thomas, 52, 83
Boel, Cornelius, 135
Bois, John, 61, 64, 69, 75, 77, no,
112, 114-121, 125-127, 130, 131,
141, 143, 150-152, 155, 164, 166
Boswell, James, 181
Bradford, William, 104
Branthwaite, William, 61, 62, us
Brasenose College, 51, 99
Brett, Richard, 46, 165
Brewster, William, 100, 104, 140,
Broughton, Hugh, 9, 76, 106, 107
Browne, Sir Thomas, 169
Brownists, 29, 34, 141
"Breeches" Bible, 9
"Bugs" Bible, 9
Bunyan, John, 181
Burleigh, Francis, 30
Burghley, Lord (see also Cecil,
William), 50, 51
Burton, Robert, 47, 75, 138
Calvin, 9, 84, 114, 141, i49 l6 5
Cambridge, 6, 8, 13, 14, 17, 26,
30, 32, 35, 39 4> 42* 5 6 > 5 8 >
60-62, 64-66, 68, 69, 98, 103,
110-113, 115, 123, 163, 169
Cambridge groups, 56-68
Campion, Thomas, 56, 109
Canterbury, 20, 41, 143
Cape Cod, 156
Carr, Robert, 152-154
Cartwright, Thomas, 6, 51
Casaubon, Isaac, 105
Catholics (see also Roman Cath-
Cecil, Robert, n, 39, 88, 93
Cecil, William, 50, 101
Chaderton, Laurence, 3, 6, 26-28,
32, 56, 58, 69, 140, 141, 165, 166
Chapman, George, 46, 109
Charles I, 160, 161, 163, 165, 166
Charles II, 24
Charles V, Emporor, 8
Charles, Prince, 79
Corpus Christi College, 22, 23, 25,
43, 46, 80, 99, 100, 155
Christ's College, Cambridge, 26,
Christchurch College, 46, 50, 51,
75, 80, 95, 138, 164
Church doctrines, 4, 28, 63, 140
Church of England, 7, 10, 28, 29,
49, 53, 60, 64, 91, 92, 139, H3
149, 164, 165
Church of Rome, 5, 8, 22, 128,
141, 149, 165
Christian Science Church, 182
Clarke, Richard, 30, 41
Coke, Sir Edward, 5, 89, 142
Complutensian Polyglot, 77
Cost of translation, 13, 14, 134
Coverdale Bible, 71, 176
Coverdale, Miles, 9
Cranmer, George, 44
Cromwell, Oliver, 181
Cross, sign of, 94
Croydon, 156-, 164
Dakins, William, 43, 99
Daniel, Samuel, 107
Dead Sea Scrolls, 77, 123
DeFoe, Daniel, 181
Dekker, Thomas, 17, 31
De Quincey, Thomas, 179
Devereux, Robert (Third Earl of
Essex), 98, 152, 153
Digby, Sir Everard, 89
Digges, Sir Dudley, 162
Dillingham, Francis, 56, 58-60,
66, 69, 105, 159, 166
Divine right of kings, 90
Donne, John, 46, 138, 139
Dort, Synod of, 140
Douay Bible, 128
Downes, Andrew, 61, 63, 64, 69,
77, 1 08, no, 111, ii3" 1]L 9 12 5
127, 129, iso^ l6 4
Drama, 23, 24, 47
Dray ton, Michael, 107
Drusitus, John, 14
Duport, John, 61, 97, *n> 15$
East India Company, 105, 157
Edes, Richard, 12, 50, 74, 95
Edgerton, Sir Thomas, 44
Egmont, Count, 34
Eliot, T. S., 16, 19
Elizabeth, Princess, 8g, 151
Elizabeth I, 5, 7, 11, 14, 18-20, 23,
24, 28, 42, 43, 52, 58, 73, 75,
105, 134, 152
Emmanuel College, 28, 61, 63, 103
Essex, Second Earl of, 33, 43, 89,
Evelyn, John, 157
Exeter College, 47, 99
Exeter, Earl of, 39
Eyre, William, 76, 103
Fairclough, Daniel, 46, 76
Fawkes, Guy, 88-91, 93
Featley, Daniel, see Fairclough
Fen ton, Roger, 43, 44
Fletcher, John, 56
Fox, George, 181
Freedom of the press, 6
Fuller, Thomas, 19, 20, 32
Garnet, Henry, 90
Geneva Bible, x, 7, 9, 10, 26, 57,
*39> l6 S
Globe Theater, 168
Gooclspeed, Edgar J. 178
Great Bible, 9, 71, 1 81
Greek group: at Cambridge, 61-
68; at Oxford, 50-55; at West-
Greene, Robert, 56
Greville, Sir Fulke, 31
Guernsey, 34, 35
Gunpowder Plot, 88-90, 93
Hampton Court, 1-3, 9, 12, 16,
42, 43, 50, 69, 76, 83, 94, 95,
99, 104, 146, 155, 165, 178
Handel, 124, 125
Harding, John, 13, 14, 46, 85, 103
Hardy, Thomas, 171
Harington, Sir John, 7
Harkins, Peter, 157
Harrner, John, 50, no, 111, 114,
Harrison, Thomas, 56, 60, 164
Harwood, Dr., 178
Havens, Ralph, 50
"He" Bible, 134
Hebrew group: at Cambridge,
56-60, 69; at Oxford, 46-50, 68;
at Westminster, 30-42, 72, 98
Henrietta Maria, Queen, 160
Henry, Prince, 4, 82, 151
Henry VIII, i, 2, 8, 9, 83, 178
Herbert, Sir Philip, 78
Heresy, 92, 93, 142
Holland, 34, 39, 40, 92, 165
Holland, Thomas, 46, 47, 85, 155
Hooker, Richard, 22, 35, 44, 52
House of Commons, 85
House of Lords, 88, 89, 107, 162
Howard, Frances, 151
Howler, the king's hound, 78
Hudson, Henry, 102, 105
Hutchinson, Ralph, 43, 74, 100,
Hutton, Leonard, 75, 76, 94, 95,
Isaacson, Henry, 19
Jacob, Henry, 139, 140
James I, i, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 20, 27,
34, 43, 52, 54, 63, 64, 75-78,
80, 82-84, 87, 89, 90, 101, 109,
112, 133, 142, 143, 151-154' *5 6
159, 168, 176, 177
James II, 90
Jesus College, 61, 164
Jones, Inigo, 3
Jonson, Ben, 32, 79, 98* 101, 102,
Keats, John, 169
Kilby, Richard, 46, 47, 103, 137,
Killigrew, Sir Robert, 40
King, Jeffrey, 30, 98, 164
Knewstubs, John, 7
Knox, John, 9
Lake, Arthur, 76, 103, 104, no,
Lake, Thomas, 72, 74, 93, 103
Lambeth Palace, in, 144
Laud, William, 149, 150, 160, 162,
163, 165, 166
Layfield, John, 30, 35-39, 4*> 6 9*
Legate, Bartholomew, 92, 93, 142-
Leicester, Earl of, in
Leyden, 34, 41, 140, 155
Lincoln College, 48
Lively, Edward, 13, 14, 15. 5 6 >
69, 73, 74, 106, 166
Lodge, Thomas, 56
Love, Nicholas, 72
Low Countries (see also Holland),
London, 2, 18, 25, 32, 34, 40, 42,
87, 102, 103, 105, 110
Luther, Martin, 8, 9
Lyly, John, 23, 46, 47
Magdalen College, 14, 64, 81, 103,
Mather, Cotton, 182
Mather, Increase, i8a
Marginal notes, 10, 70
Marlowe, Christopher, 56, 167
Marriage, 4, 58, 65
Mary, Queen of Scots, 5
Matthew Bible, 9, 71, 176
Mermaid Tavern, 168
Merton College, 52, 74, 99
Monteagle, Lord Chamberlain,
Montague, James, 76
Montague, Richard, 42
Mildmay, Sir Walter, 28
Millenary Petition, 2
Milton, John, 163, 179-181
Nash, Thomas, 56
Neale, Bishop of Durham, 159
New College, 21, 72, 96, 99, ui,
New England, 157
New Lights, 182
Newmarket, 10, 79, 98
Orange, Prince of, 34
Oriel College, 99
Overall, John, 12, 30-34, 39, 41,
64, 69, 89, 90, 104, 105, 141, 155,
Overbury, Sir Thomas, 153
Oxford, 13, 14, 21-24, 34, 39, 43,
46-48, 50, 53, 58, 68, 7*, 74-76,
94, 111, 112, 115, 123, 137, 138,
155, 156, 164, 169; King's visit
to, 80-86; Oxford translators'
Parliament, 27, 85, 87, 88, 101,
Paul's Cross, 27, 44, 88, 90, 91,
Paul's Walk, 31, 105
Payment of translators, 113, 114
Pembroke College, 16, 17, 19
Perm, John, 50, 156
Percy, Thomas, 88, 89
Philip III of Spain, 89
Pilgrims, 29, 34, 100, 104, 139-141,
Plague, 2, 12, 103, 160
Plymouth, Mass., 34, 100, 164, 181
Predestination, 42, 141
Preface, 129, 145, 148, 173-177
Presbyters, 96, 97
Ptolemy Philadelphus, 175
Puerto Rico, 36, 37
Puritans, 1-4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16,
20, 24-28, 42, 43, 50, 53, 95-97,
106, 108, 134, 141, 144, 149,
153, 156, 162-164
Queen's College, 75, 99
Rabbett, Michael, 43, 61
Radcliffe, Jeremy, 61, 155
Rainolds, John, i, 3-7, 9, n, 12,
22-25, 46, 47, 49, 51, 69, 83-86,
99, 128, 132, 155, 170, 183
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 5, 46, 108
Ravens, Ralph, 50, 156
Ravis, Thomas, 12, 50, 51, 55, 69,
73' 75 9> 93^ 95 9 8 * 10 4> *55
Reade, Simon, 105
Richardson, John, 56-58, 141, 159
Roman Catholics, 2, 29
Rome, Church of, 83, 88, 91, 92
Royston, 10, 78
Ryves, George, 72, 83
Sabbath sports, 156
St. Clement Banes, 39
St. Chrysostom, 77, 150, 151
St. John's College, 42, 60, 62, 64,
St. Mary's College, 155
St. Paul, 45, 66, 115
St. Paul's, 27, 30, 31, 34, 61, 73,
89, 90, 134, 139, 155
St. Peter, 84
Salisbury, Earl of, see Cecil,
Sanderson, Thomas, 43
Savile, Sir Henry, 50, 51, 55, 69,
74, 77, 99, 115, 133, 150, 152,
Saravia, Hadrian, 30, 34, 35, 41,
47, 52, 69
Scaliger, Joseph Justus, 40, 155
Scottish bishops, 143
Selby, Sir John, 105
Selden, John, 76
Servants, treatment of, 27
Seventy Translators of Alexan-
dria, 175, 176, 178
Shakespeare, 3, 32, 85, 107-109,
Shaw, Bernard, 182
"She" Bible, 135
Sidney, Sir Philip, 46
Smith, Captain John, 105
Smith, Miles, 46, 49, 69, 96, 117,
120, 122-123, 124, 127-129, 132,
133^ 135* 136, *43> *45> 148-150,
155> *59> 168, 173-177
Smithfield, 142, 147
Somerset, Earl of, 154
Somerset, Lady, 153
Sophia, Princess, 99
Sorbonne, 157, 158
Spalding, Robert, 56, 159
Sparke, Thomas, 6, 76
Stage plays, 23, 24
Stationers* Hall, no, in, 113-
115, 119-120, 122-123, 126, 127,
129, 132, 150, 178
Stirling Castle, 8
Spenser, Edmund, 16, 56
Spenser, John, 43, 44, 101, 155
Strachey, Lytton, 169
Thomson, Giles, 50, 52, 85, 148
Thomson, James, 180
Thomson, Richard, 30, 39, 40-42,
58, 69, 141, 155
Thorne, William, 21, 46, 75
Tiger's Head, 134, 147, 178
Tigue, Robert, 30
Title page, 135
Tower of London, 10, 23, 105,
"Treacle" Bible, 10
Trinity College, 14, 30, 35, 40, 60,
Tyndale, William, 8, 9, 11, 27,
71, 126, 176-178
United States, 182
University College, 53, 55, 81, 99
Ussher, James, 103
Verb endings, 179
Vere, Lady Susan, 78
Victoria, Queen, 151
Villiers, George, 154, 162
Virginia, 97, 100, 105
Vulgate, 7, 9, 77
Walker, Anthony, 112
Walloon Confession, 34
Walsingham, Sir Francis, 16, 18,
23, 28, 134
Walton, Isaac, 35
Ward, Robert, 61, 111
Ward, Samuel, 61, 62, 69, 111,
141, 165, 166
Wesley, John, 182
West Indies, 35, 156
Westminster, 13, 14, 16, 19, 30,
3 2 > 34> 35> 39 4 1 * 42, 72, 9*
98, 102, 103, 110, 112, 115, 123
Westminster groups, 30-45, 68
Westminster Abbey, 149, 151, 161
Whitehead, Alfred North, 179
Whitgift, John, 3, 5, 12, 13, 18,
20, 42, 51, 65, 143, 158
Whitchurch Bible, 71
Whitehall, 12, 78, 79, 87, 90, 104,
107, 137, 142
Whittaker, Dr., 60
Whittingham, William, g
Witchcraft, 54, 104-105
Wolsey, Cardinal, i, 50
Worthington, Dr. Thomas, 128
Wotton, Sir Henry, 46
Wycliffe, 7, 178
Zouache, Edward, 157